Baby at 37,000 Feet
[originally published in KCN, June 2011]
On a flight home, chiropractor Kevin Donka settled into his seat. Behind him was a mother with her baby.
As the flight took off, the baby — as many will — began to cry. The mother did everything in her power to quiet the little one… but to no avail. The child simply would not calm down. And then something happened that every parent fears while flying — the child’s cry catapulted to a full-tilt shrill. Again, the mother tried and tried but the child could not be comforted.
At about minute ten of the full-blown wail, Dr. Donka began to think to himself, “Maybe I should offer to help. Maybe there is something I can do.”
As he was thinking these thoughts, he heard the mother say to the screaming child, “It’s going to be okay honey, I promise. As soon as we land I will take you straight to Dr. Rich’s office. It’s going to be okay….”
“Doctor?” Kevin Donka thought to himself. Upon hearing this, he turned around and asked the distraught mother, “Ma’am, is your child under some form of treatment?”
“Oh no,” she assured him. “He’s just extremely fussy. He hasn’t had a chance to sleep in his own crib for two weeks now. What he really needs is a chiropractic adjustment.”
A big smile filled Dr. Donka’s face as he excitedly relayed to the woman that he was a chiropractor. “Would you give me the honor of checking your child?” he began.
But before he could complete his request, she had unbuckled her seatbelt and was standing by his side holding her child out to him. “Would you mind?”
Graciously accepting, Dr. Donka sat the baby in his lap before an audience of onlookers and proceeded to check his spine. Sure enough, the baby was in need of an adjustment to his upper neck and mid back, which Dr. Donka very gently and precisely delivered. Twenty seconds later, for the first time on the flight, the baby was silent.
A look of disbelief swept over the faces of his audience. Some began to clap. He returned the baby to his mother, who promptly fell asleep in her arms for the rest of the flight.
An incredible story indeed. But Dr. Donka emphasized that his reason for sharing the story was not to show how chiropractic saved the day, or how many were educated, or even that chiropractic is more accepted now. No, the reason he shared the story was what the flight attendant said over the PA upon landing: “I’d like to say a special ‘thank you’ to the chiropractor back there that not only allowed our little guy to get some sleep, but saved the rest of us from whatever horrors we might have committed from listening to over an hour of screaming!” With that, the whole plane erupted into cheers.
And that was his point. You see, there were 163 people on that flight. One of them received the adjustment he so desperately needed. But, the other 162 were affected by the adjustment as well. Imagine how you’d feel after listening to over an hour of non-stop screaming. You wouldn’t be your best, that’s for sure. And everyone you interacted with following your exodus would know it.
BJ Palmer, the developer of chiropractic, once said, “You never know how far reaching something you think, say, or do today, will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.”
Dr. Donka had a choice. He could have said, “This is none of business!” and put on his noise-canceling headphones and sunk into his chair with a book. But he didn’t. Instead, he chose to step outside his comfort zone and risk rejection, ridicule, and liability. Why? Because it was the right thing to do. And because he did, his action not only affected the lives of those on the plane… but, dare I say, yours as well.
Are you willing to do the right thing?