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San Francisco police officer Jessie Ortiz is one of dozens of unsuspecting passengers who recently enjoyed an upgrade from coach to first class thanks to a stranger.
"A flight attendant approaches me and goes 'Mr. Ortiz you've been upgraded. Here's your first class seat.' And I go 'Huh?'" Ortiz laughed as he told the story to KTVU.
Ortiz said the flight attendant pointed out a man in a wheelchair as the generous donor. Ortiz tried to talk him out of giving up his seat but the man refused. He identified himself as Michael Salzman from Alaska and explained that giving up his seat was his way of saying thank you to those who serve.
"I mean who does that? Who upgrades you? Switches their seat so he's sitting in my seat and I'm sitting in first class. Amazing." Ortiz marvelled.
Salzman asked for only one thing in return, that Ortiz read and sign his journal. As he read the journal, Ortiz realized he wasn't the only lucky recipient. There were dozens of entries from captains, sergeants, first mates who had written thank you notes to Salzman for giving up his seat in first class for them.
Fellow San Francisco Police officer Sgt. Jeff Skover said getting identified as a brother in blue rarely nets the perks experienced by Officer Ortiz. Skover admitted that it often made them targets.
"We wear uniforms that stand out. When someone picks us out and rewards us for it that's a positive thing," explained Skover.
For Ortiz, making the story public is his way of thanking a man who isn't looking for recognition; a quality he says may be as rare as an unexpected upgrade.