With a social-media stream top-heavy with negativity, I want to share an experience I had that restored my faith in the basic kindness of humanity.

I took a flight recently from London to Los Angeles with my 14-month-old—a more than 10-hour flight that I’ve done many times in the past seven years since I moved to the United States.It is always tiring Traveling that length of time, especially with children, needs careful planning and organization and over the years, even though I have pretty much figured out the most stress-free way of tackling the journey, I find it is always tiring, and there are so many little things that can come up that add to the experience.

It blew my mind on this flight when five people went out of their way to help me on the airplane. Five strangers made my journey more comfortable—five humans who showed care and empathy and tried to make my full hands that little bit less full.

And I’d like to thank them here because I do not know who they are.

To the man who stood up as I approached my seat with my carry-on in one hand and my baby in the other. You saw me sit my baby down in the seat and watched me start opening the overhead compartment to store the bag. You also saw my very active, very energetic and very curious toddler stand up in the seat and start climbing over it to become acquainted with the person sitting behind me. As I pondered how to keep her from falling over into the aisle below and also put up my bag at the same time, you jumped up and offered to lift the bag overhead for me. Five years ago, I would have said, “Na, I’m good. I’ll work it out,” but three kids and many flights later, I’ve learned that everyone gains from me accepting help. And so I thankfully handed you the carry-on and took the baby.

You showed kindness and respect, and I thank you for that.

To the couple seated in the bulkhead seat beside me. You somehow had a choice to switch to a different set of bulkhead seats. Ten minutes after I sat down, you spoke to a stewardess and casually got up from the row, leaving me with two empty seats beside me—a huge relief for a mother traveling with an active child. As you got up to move to your new seats, you said so sweetly to me, “We thought you’d enjoy the extra room.” There was no underlying implication, no snootiness, no sarcasm. Your genuine happiness for me—a mother you did not know flying with a baby, who now had the extra room to move around and make a mess—was heartwarming.

You chose to make my life that much easier, and I am so grateful for that.

To the young woman who saw the empty bulkhead seats that had become available and relocated from her aisle seat in the row next to me, to the more ample leg space seat in one of the two empty ones beside me. I didn’t blame you for wanting to relocate and was happy to share one of the two empty seats with you. You offered to give me the two next to each other and sat down next to the man at the end. You interacted with my baby so sweetly and asked me with sincerity about her age, her character and her milestones. What blew me away was when you decided after a few minutes to go back to your original seat, mentioning how I could use the room, and it was unnecessary for you. I watched in disbelief as you actually picked up your things and moved, leaving me again with a blessedly almost empty row and a good feeling in my heart.

You gave up your own comfort for someone else’s and to me, that is the epitome of selflessness.

To the lady who sat across from me and kept smiling at me and my baby throughout the flight. I felt your good energy, your genuine smile and your sweetness. As we prepared for landing and a stoic stewardess came over to me and reminded me that my bags must be replaced in the overhead compartment, I sighed inwardly. My baby was fast asleep on my shoulder, and the last thing I wanted was to wake her up 20 minutes before landing. Without even asking or saying a single word, you crossed the aisle to my seat and picked up my things. You zipped up the backpack and even picked up the stray pieces that had scattered over the floor and casually put everything away for me. “Never wake a sleeping baby, right?” You winked, and I felt a flood of gratitude.

You didn’t have to make the effort to get involved. But that gesture meant so much at that point in time.

To the security guard at the customs area in Los Angeles. After a 15-minute walk holding a baby who refused to get into her stroller and pulling a suitcase behind me while pushing said stroller, my heart sank when I saw the lines to get into the United States. I joined whatThere was nothing they could do seemed to be a one hour queue at least, my eyelids heavy from traveling more than 10 hours and my arm heavy with the weight of my daughter. Each time I passed an officer, I pointed to the line and held out my daughter’s American passport and asked if there was any way I could avoid this insane wait. Each officer told me the same thing: There was nothing they could do. Half-an-hour later with at least 45 minutes to go, I started becoming more aggressive with the security patrol. “Is there a supervisor I can speak to? I am holding a baby and cannot wait in this line for another hour.” After a few minutes, you, a security guard who had caught my exchange with several of your colleagues, simply motioned to me and unhooked the barrier. “Go wait in the line for specialty services,” you said, with no expression on your face. I wanted to actually hug you, but I simply said a heartfelt thank you and joined a line that had me out in 10 minutes instead of 50.

You could have stuck to the rules and played it hard, but you had compassion and generosity. Thank you for showing me that some rules are meant to be broken.

The sages taught, Al tadin et chaveircha ad shetagiah limkomo—“Do not judge another person until you have stood in their place” (Ethics 2:4). I, a mother, witnessed the receiving end of this verse. You chose to put yourselves in my shoes. You sought to express empathy to a woman traveling alone with a child. You refrained from judgement and offered kindness and warmth instead.

Five hearts, five sweet gestures, five times that I was reminded that humankind is in essence good, thoughtful and gracious. Five times where I felt that G‑d was smiling down on His world and proud of the people He had created. Five acts of kindness that have inspired me to pay it forward by being that person to five other people I do not know. I hope I can rise to the challenge and be that change in someone else’s journey.