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How to be compassionate - even on a plane.

Have you ever been on a plane and delayed because there is a medical emergency with another passenger?

I remember witnessing a young boy and his family be humiliated when they had to get off a flight prior to takeoff due to an allergic reaction.

Seeing how people reacted to the incident left me heartbroken.

I didn't know that family, and I will probably never meet them, but I have great compassion for them.

Two things bothered me about this incident: the first was that some passengers proceeded to laugh when the boy was in distress and, the second was that as his family exited the plane, the other passengers were seen to clap and cheer.

If we want to raise children who have empathy and kindness, then we need to start checking our own behaviour.

To show more compassion, especially whilst travelling, there are seven ways we can all be more compassionate.

1. Ask yourself how you would be feeling if it were you? Are you reacting negatively out of selfishness? If you haven't been in a similar situation then check your reaction and realistically work out if you have any right to be angry, upset, frustrated and vocal?

2. Offer to help. Granted there may be nothing you can do but if you can't directly assist the person, have a look around you and see if there is an opportunity to show empathy to inspire empathy.

3. Respect the privacy of others. Is there really a need to post about your frustration on social media? Would you want other people to share something about you and your family without your consent?

4. Listen. Resist the urge to offer advice or have an answer for everything. Listening plays a pivotal role in showing compassion to others.

5. Practice mindfulness. Stop focusing on the negatives and just be at peace that your flight may be slightly delayed. Concentrate on your breathing - frustration gets us nowhere.

6. Be selfless. Remove your needs and wants and focus on the issue at hand. Be thankful that the boy mentioned above was taken off the plane before takeoff and that he is getting the medical attention he needs and will therefore be okay.

7. Just be kind. Lead by example. Have positive things to say. Don't engage with other angry passengers. People respond to kindness so being a positive role model in any situation often inspires others to do the same.

I question how we can live in a society where we laugh at the misery of a fellow passenger who is in despair, especially that of a little boy? It's about being more tolerant of others — especially when we are confined to a long metal tube in an attempt to travel from one place to another. We have the ability to compromise and give fellow passengers the benefit of the doubt so why can’t we maintain a better perspective in life and do what we can to ensure that as many people are as happy as possible?

I'll never understand the reaction from the fellow passengers but I hope that such an experience can be converted into teaching people to show more respect and sympathy for fellow human beings.

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