Faith, hope, and true grit. These are the virtues which used to define us as a people–as a nation.

Once upon a time 14,000 thousand men survived a brutal winter and small-pox in hastily built huts in Valley Forge, PA in order to give birth to our nation. How could any of us ever complain about our inconveniences within ear-shot of such men?

We are now a nation of complainers, even the most minor inconvenience is likely to set us off. I travel frequently and I spend a lot of time in airports. Like the cramped quarters at Valley Forge were breeding grounds for small-pox, cramped airports are breeding grounds for complaints.

Complaints vary. When thunderstorms in New York cause delays in Denver the complaints run from mild groans to hissy fits. A few hours stuck on the tarmac with only peanuts, diet coke, and satellite television results in campaigns in Washington, a city eponymous with that general at Valley Forge, for a ‘travelers bill of rights.’ Pathetic.

But there is hope. A new generation is emerging with the same true grit as our ancestors, but perhaps with fuller bellies.

Meet 9-year-old Kieren Kershaw. Kieran experienced an airport hardship that most of us will never face. See, 9-year-old Kieren Kershaw was traveling alone on Delta Airlines from Spokane to Boston. Only problem, Delta put Kieran on a plane to Cleveland.

Now if there were ever an occasion for a hissy fit, weeping, and gnashing of teeth at the airport, this was it. But Kieran would have none of it.

Kieran, accepted his situation with grace, equanimity, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Kieren said employees apologized to him when he was in Cleveland.

“‘Sorry for leaving you here when you’re really supposed to be in Boston,'” the boy quoted employees telling him. “It was kind of nice. They gave me some free food and some Dunkin’ Donuts.”

Words to live by. They gave me some free food and some Dunkin’ Donuts. It was kind of nice.

How would you respond if the airline accidentally sent you, not your luggage, but you to the wrong city? I think very few would exhibit the grace of young Kieran. We could all learn a lot from this young man. As they say “out of the mouth of babes” or in this case “into the mouth of babes.”

9-year-old Kieren Kershaw, American hero.