Why one serviceman has Russell Wilson to thank for his first-class ride

Quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks has a reputation of being a class act off the field, and his latest gesture is further proof of that. 

Ted Warren/FILE/AP
FILE PHOTO- In this July 25, 2014, photo, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson signs autographs following an NFL football camp practice in Renton, Wash. Wilson is making positive headlines off the field by upgrading a service members seat on a flight to first class

You never know who you'll bump into in the airport terminal. 

In an unexpected act of kindness, a National Football League star went out of his way to make a serviceman's flying experience far more enjoyable. 

United States Army Serviceman Kane Bernas was making his way to his coach seat on an Alaskan Airlines flight to Seattle on Wednesday when he encountered one of the city's brightest stars in Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback Russell Wilson, according to ESPN. At that point, Wilson pulled Mr. Bernas aside and offered to upgrade his seat to first class after a brief conversation.

Bernas expressed his gratitude for the act of kindness on Twitter, and the Super Bowl-winning quarterback responded. 

According to Fox Sports, Wilson has a business relationship with the airline as its "Chief Football Officer." 

Although Wilson is a highly visible sports figure and is widely viewed as one of the league's model citizens, people are engaging in random acts of kindness for veterans everyday. 

Last Veterans' Day, Katy's Goodness Cookies launched their "Thank a Deserving Veteran Campaign," in which the company aimed to send a care packages of cookies to two million veterans and raised some $3 million to donate to veteran support organizations, according to the company's website. Katy's also solicited donations from the public at large, trying to send care packages to all of America's near 20 million veterans, as of 2013's US Census count

But these acts of generosity need not be as ambitious and wide-reaching as a nation-wide cookie campaign.

In 2013, before his passing at age 93, Howard Coger, of Cobleskill, N.Y, a former World War II combat veteran, flew an American flag over his garage. But one November day, the flag disappeared, according to a blog entry on CVSFlags.com, a website of a wholesale distributor of American flags for the military. When five local college students learned that Mr. Coger's flag had vanished, they banded together to purchase a new one for Coger's home and fixed the mount on his garage. The students were recognized by their college's Student Veterans Association for their kindness towards an elderly veteran. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette featured a letter from a Vietnam veteran who said an unnamed young woman paid for his ice cream when she ordered ahead of him at a Dairy Queen, which was more recognition than the former marine ever expected, and who said he would "pay it forward."

As part of Wilson's Alaskan Airlines flight, he took an Instagram photo with the flight crew with the caption, "Don't ever underestimate the value of consistency." And when it comes to small gestures to thank vets, first-class seats are nice but consistently remembering to say "thank you" works as well. 

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