JetBlue is currently hosting a promotion called “Flying It Forward.” The purpose of the promotion is simple and asks two very basic questions:
If you were given one flight to spread good… Where would you go? What would you do?
Though the questions are simple, the answers can be thought provoking and inspiring. It’s a social movement inspired by JetBlue’s own crew and carried out by us, passing along one ticket on a continuous journey throughout the JetBlue network. Fly It Forward winners are chosen to either fulfill their dreams, join a humanitarian effort or make a meaningful impact on the world.
The program started with an act of human inspiration and a great story to tell; awarding one roundtrip flight to a deserving individual. Once their trip is completed, the flier then passes that opportunity on to the next traveler they help select, continuing a chain of goodness that will travel throughout the JetBlue network – to spread good and inspire humanity.
There have been six winners thus far. The winners have been individuals such as Tameka from Chicago who runs a home for at-risk juveniles, Louis from Stratford who runs a non-profit organization providing educational opportunities for children in Haiti and Jill from New Jersey, an ovarian cancer survivor, whose journey is to spread cancer awareness and promote early detection.
And then there’s me. . . I’m the seventh winner.
Now, I know what you all are thinking, “Who is this joker and what did he do to deserve this trip??” And truth be told, I don’t know either. My only guess is they liked my story and thought it was worthy enough to share. I hope they are right and that I can meet the bar set by the previous winners with their incredible stories and inspirational messages.
When I first heard about this promotion coming to Long Beach, I immediately knew I wanted to be part of it and take this movement to Boston. As a runner, who’s dating another runner and hangs out with many other runners, I am constantly reminded of the Boston Marathon bombing terrorist attack each time I’m at a race event. I think of not just the innocent victims that were killed or injured that morning but also of the first responders that risked their lives to care for the injured victims and search for the two suspects as they continued their deadly rampage.
The Boston Marathon bombing was a horrible attack on America and one that I’m sure we will never forget. In total, four victims were killed from that incident. Three victims were killed by the initial bombings and one police officer was killed during the subsequent search for the suspects. But in addition to those that lost their lives, hundreds of others were injured, lost their limbs and will be forever affected by this attack. And as tragic as it was, the Boston Marathon bombing story is not just about loss and tragedy, it’s also one of strength, courage and the endurance to survive and thrive.
Some of you may not know this about me but I’m a police officer by day (and travel blogger by night). I have been a police officer in Southern California for the past 12 years. I don’t really share that publicly too often but I guess it would be appropriate considering the context.
And as a police officer, I am (probably more) aware of all the negative attention that we have received in the media recently. Some of those stories are deserved, some are not. But for every negative story that is portrayed in the media, there are hundreds of positive and inspiring ones that we will never see or even hear about.
It’s easy to forget but there are a lot of good police officers out there; police officers that are doing their best to make a difference in their communities and some of them, make the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve their communities. One of those officers is Officer Sean Collier of the MIT Police Department. He was the only law enforcement officer that was killed during the entire Boston Marathon bombing incident and subsequent manhunt for the two suspects. There was a second police officer that was shot and injured – Officer Richard Donohue, but he fortunately survived the attack.
My goal for this segment of the Flying It Forward movement is to travel to Boston, pay my respects to Officer Sean Collier and the other victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, share their stories and carry on the ideal that what makes Boston strong, makes America strong. We are a nation of strong people. We will fight. We will survive and we will overcome any evil, foreign or domestic, that attempts to hurt or harm us. We will not be fearful and we will not forget those before us. Mine is a simple goal but one that I hope will be meaningful and significant to all those that were affected.
So that’s my story and I hope that you found it worthy of being selected. But now it’s your turn, Boston. If you have some good you want to spread, a dream you want to see fulfilled or a cause you wish to promote, submit your stories to the JetBlue website. I would love to pass this opportunity on to one of my readers. And don’t worry if you don’t live in Boston. This is a continuous journey and who knows where the next winner will take it.
I will be traveling to Boston in a few days. I will be posting all my pictures and stories on Twitter and Instagram. Feel free to follow along with my journey to honor and pay tribute to the victims and ensure that their story and memory lives on.
More information on the promotion and how you can enter can be found here. Good luck!