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Editor’s Query: Tell us about a time when you jumped to the wrong conclusion

I was heading home to visit my mom in her waning days. With a heavy heart, I made my way toward my seat. In my haste to book a flight, I’d given up on the balky select-a-seat option, figuring I’d get one when I checked in. No choices were left on that full flight; I’d been assigned to the last row, by the bathroom.

I elbowed all 125 pounds of my petite frame to the rear of the plane, weary after the long run through the airport. As I neared my row, my eyes widened, and I double-checked my seat assignment, praying the empty center seat was not mine.

Against the window was a faceless fixture of a young man burrowed under his dark hoodie, invisible behind dark glasses and tuned out by his ear buds. On the aisle was another ominous stereotype.

He was the classic image: boots, leather vest, chains, tattoos, bandana headband wrapped above three-foot-long braid down his back. He was also HUGE. But he read my face, and stood up to stow my bag and gestured for me to take my seat.

I met the nicest guy that day. He had just left his dad’s hospital bedside. Both vets, they wouldn’t be riding in Rolling Thunder that year. He lived on a farm next door to a minister. He was in church every Sunday. We shared his movie: “Cars.”

Valerie Fraser,

Laurel

NEW QUERY: Tell us about a time when you felt at home in an unexpected place.

The Washington Post is partnering with the Public Insight Network (PIN) to hear more of your 100 percent true stories taken from your own experience. Submit your answer to the query above online at wapo.st/ed­query. By sharing your story, you become part of PIN — a network of more than 130,000 people who contribute to high-quality journalism. Editors will choose an entry to run in the Magazine, but we will also share more of your stories online. You can also submit to The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Include your daytime phone number. Recount your story in 250 words or fewer.

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