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It started with a bad day. In an empty seat on a mostly empty flight, Taylor Tippett, a flight attendant for American Airlines, contemplated the self-doubt, fear and unhealthy relationships that clouded her. As she sipped her morning coffee, looking out the airplane window, she had an idea. She scribbled “Be kind to yourself” on a piece of paper. “I was thinking about how kindness matters, and that in order to be kind to others, you have to start with yourself,” she writes in the award-winning travelogue series of APEX Experience‘s upcoming March/April issue.

Tippett, an Ellen DeGeneres fan and avid Instagramer with a knack for capturing the sunny lifestyle of a twentysomething, taped the note to the window and snapped a photo of it. After a few more messages she added the hashtag #WordsFromtheWindowSeat and a kindness cult was born. Since then, her motivational words have spread far and wide, attracting interest from ABC News, Seeker Stories, Urban Outfitters, Mashable and Huffington Post.

For her acts of kindness that have impacted travelers and Instagramers around the world in a big way, APEX has awarded Tippett with a Silver Heart Award. “A flight attendant going above and beyond has a positive ripple effect on others,” says Joe Leader, APEX CEO. “I can only imagine the positive ‘pay it forward’ actions that have been taken from actions like Taylor’s.”

“I want people to know that the little things matter so much,” Tippett tells APEX Media when asked what she wants viewers to take away from #WordsFromtheWindowSeat. “A few small words and the smallest act of kindness, like taping a note up on the window matters. We live in a world where it’s all about the big picture stuff and at the end of the day, that’s not really what matters. It’s how you make people feel and how well you love. That’s gonna matter most at the end of the day.” 

“A few small words and the smallest act of kindness, like taping a note up on the window matters. We live in a world where it’s all about the big picture stuff and at the end of the day, that’s not really what matters.” – Taylor Tippett, flight attendant

In addition to going viral, passengers have been paying the acts of kindness forward. “A flight attendant actually found a note hanging on the window one early morning from a stranger on the flight before hers,” she shares. “She knew of me and my note series, so she sent me the kindest words of encouragement and explained that she needed the words the passenger left more than she knew: She had just lost her brother a few weeks prior… It was beyond encouraging for me because that’s why I started #WordsFromtheWindowSeat.”

Read Tippett’s travelogue, “Words From the Window Seat,” in the March/April issue of APEX Experience magazine.

APEX Heart Awards honors airline employees who go above and beyond for passengers to elevate their travel experience. To learn more about the awards and see our previous winners, visit the APEX Heart Awards webpage.

Caroline is a copy writer at APEX Media.