Woman Thanks Her Pilots For Getting Her Home Safely With A Touching Gratitude Letter

Emily Sundberg
·Yahoo Beauty Intern

On Monday, Jai Dillon, a pilot, tweeted a photo of this letter.

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(Photo: Twitter: @jaidillon)

After the recent tragedy of the Germanwings crash that killed all 150 people aboard, a passenger named Bethanie wanted to thank her pilots for taking her home on a recent flight – safely.

“In light of the very recent tragedy in the French Alps and the loss of those poor 150 people, I feel the need to reach out to you and extend a compassionate hand. At the end of the day, we are all humans just trying to live this rollercoaster of a life we have been handed. I understand an event so horrific as this one affects those with your responsibility more than others, and maybe sometimes a kind word, random but heartfelt, can make a difference. I’m hoping to create a ripple effect and spread some compassion and understanding.”

Millions of people fly in planes every day and many of them share Bethanie’s reason for flying – to visit loved ones. She ended her letter address her excitement for visiting her family, and thanking the pilot for making it possible.

“Thank you for allowing me to live the life I do in Spain and split my time with my family in England too. You make the excitement I feel now to see my family possible. I hope you get to see your families soon.”

Although Dillon told Buzzfeed he was not the pilot who received the letter, his colleague let him share it.

Did you know that there are studies that support the “ripple effect” Bethanie mentioned?

Researchers in the psychological community believe small acts of kindness, like Bethanie’s letter to the pilot, can increase the happiness of the person who does these simple acts. Many people are aware that doing good for others makes those on the receiving end happier, but may be unaware that it benefits the giver as well. There’s science behind it.

Related: Does Having An Education Make You Any Happier?

Happiness is healthy – for your relationships, for your mental stability, and for the people around you. Happy people have more stable marriages, stronger immune systems, higher incomes, and more creative ideas than their less happy peers.

Christian Smith, sociologist and author of The Paradox of Generosity, told New Republic that generosity “gives people more pleasure chemistry in their brain, a sense of reward for having done something good.”

Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Psychology at University of California, Riverside, specializes in gratitude research. In her book, The How of Happiness, she says people who write gratitude letters to those they appreciate are happier, more optimistic and more connected to others. She emphasizes, though, that a gratitude letter is different from a thank-you note. Often, thank-you notes are written out of duty, but a gratitude letter involves specifically writing about of what’s making you feel grateful for this person, thing or situation. “You elaborate upon what you’re grateful for; it’s more powerful than thank-you notes,” Dr. Lyubomirsky told YouBeauty.

Related: Germanwings Crash: How Are Pilots’ Mental And physical Health Evaluated?

These practices of small habits like this can become everyday habits, and over time happiness will become a contagious habit as well.

Here is Bethanie’s full letter:

In light of the very recent tragedy in the French Alps and the loss of those poor 150 people, I feel the need to reach out to you and extend a compassionate hand. At the end of the day, we are all humans just trying to live this rollercoaster of a life we have been handed. I understand an event so horrific as this one affects those with your responsibility more than others, and maybe sometimes a kind word, random but heartfelt, can make a difference. I’m hoping to create a ripple effect and spread some compassion and understanding.

Thank you for taking me home. Thank you for doing so safely. Thank you for allowing me to live the life I do in Spain and split my time with my family in England too. You make the excitement I feel now to see my family possible. I hope you get to see your families soon. I’ve had a wonderful flight and hope you have too.

You’re making a massive difference and you’re the reason I can smile tonight.

Take care and spread love,

Kindest regards,

Bethanie