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Giving Up My Hat and My Seat for His Glory

On a midnight flight out of Nairobi, a drunk guy began to scream in anger. It was a bad situation... until the Holy Spirit stepped in.
Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier
Story of being empowered by the Holy Spirit to operate in grace in the face of a tough situation on an airplane.

Last night on a midnight flight from Nairobi to Frankfurt a drunk guy began to scream in anger because of all the crying babies on our flight. In his defense, there were more screaming babies on this flight than any plane ride I ever remember taking.

But as he yelled out again, people got visibly nervous at his outburst. It felt like his increasing agitation was building up to something bad.

And, to my shock, the flight attendant tried to calm him down by offering him more vodka.

Then I noticed that he started to bug the young African lady next to him. She looked increasingly nervous.

I could tell the young lady was getting more and more fearful as this big, loud man kept leaning closer and closer to her, mumbling something in her ear. She kept looking away, trying to get him to disengage.

I could feel my adrenaline begin to surge and my old North Denver situational awareness begin to kick in. The protective dad in me was about to unleash, so I paused to pray and ask God for wisdom and grace to handle the situation in the Spirit, not in the flesh.

Waving down the flight attendant, I told him that I’d be glad to switch seats with the young lady.

The flight attendant was a bit nervous that I was going to fight the guy or something, but I assured him that I wouldn’t. I told him that I was a preacher and wanted to diffuse the situation. But I also told him that I didn’t think it was safe for her to be seated next to him. The flight attendant asked her if she’d like to switch seats with me and she gladly complied.

Having switched seats, this big man began to get loud with me. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, I calmly talked to him. But then all of a sudden he grabbed the bill of my Dare 2 Share hat and said loudly, “I LIKE YOUR HAT!” I responded “Thanks! Would you like to have it?” He seemed stunned but then nodded his head yes.

So I gave it to him.

Soon we were talking about life and family and, although he was still EXTREMELY LOUD, he was no longer angry. Eventually, I was able to share the Gospel with him, but he didn’t seem cognizant enough to truly understand. So I gave him a Life in 6 Words card and asked him to watch the video when he could.

Sadly, the flight attendants gave him more vodka and beer every time he asked.

Eventually, the big man fell asleep, sporting my white Dare 2 Share baseball cap. When we landed he asked for my contact information, promised to watch the Life in 6 Words video and told me that he would come and visit me in Denver and bring me a gift from Slovakia.

Only God can take a volatile situation and turn it around for His glory. No matter what tense situation you may face or are facing, ask God for the grace to be a peacemaker. He will give it to you.

You may lose a hat in the process but you could gain a new friend and maybe even a cool gift from Slovakia.

I hope you’ll join me in being Radical Like Jesus and check out my new book coming in August and my new podcast coming in September! Let’s all be radical just like Jesus: displaying radical love, taking radical risk, and showing radical acts of kindness for the maximum glory of God!

Unlikely Fighter

#1 new release in Evangelism on Amazon

The story of how a fatherless street kid overcame violence, chaos, and confusion to become a radical Christ follower.

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