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Jay Greeson

Reid Smiley flew to Minneapolis to watch a baseball game with his son Luke earlier this month.

I know Reid; he and I coached our sons on a baseball team a couple of years ago.

He's like so many people — he does the best he can in an ever-changing world, worrying about the future while making the most of the now.

But Reid, a man of few words, reminded the entire social media realm about the power of kindness.

On his flight back to Atlanta, a pregnant woman was traveling with her 20-month-old son, who also is named Luke.

Monica Nelson was exhausted and her son was crying, obviously not overly pleased about flying.

Reid volunteered to walk little Luke up and down the aisle until the boy fell fast asleep some 15 minutes later.

"I was truly grateful and couldn't have asked for more if my own husband was sitting next to me," Nelson told ABC News.

A woman named Andrea Byrd was also on the flight and snapped a photo of Smiley calming little Luke. She posted the picture on Facebook. It has since been shared more than 100,000 times.

Imagine Smiley's surprise when he saw his picture on "Good Morning America" and "The Today Show" not long after his good deed.

"It was kind of exciting," Reid said through a laugh, "to see yourself on TV. All of the national attention blew my mind."

National attention is a heady, powerful thing, and this time it shone on something that should make us all smile.

Smiley offered a kind gesture in which color, socioeconomic status or religious affiliation didn't matter. He presented a gracious reminder that people helping people can solve almost anything, whether national issues or the need of a nap.

"It really tugged on my heartstrings because my son had just lost his father," Byrd told ABC News. "It was so good to see this, and I had never seen anything like this before. It just reaffirmed that everything would be OK. That's when I snapped the picture. It was a beautiful moment on the plane."

Smiley showed us that, in a world where we all know the name of the backup quarterback on an NFL team because of his decision to kneel during the national anthem, random acts of kindness are the greatest gift we can share.

Reid Smiley and his family — wife, Alison, and daughter, Claire, in addition to third-grader Luke — live on Signal Mountain, but his reach went nationwide.

"I guess it was my 15 minutes of fame," Smiley said.

May it remind us that kindness can extend far beyond that.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6434.

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