Today we are flying home from Miami—Miami to Atlanta to Kansas City to be precise. Right now I’m sitting in the Sky Club in Atlanta (Kent belongs, we pay for his membership because he flies every other week to Canada and it helps keep things a little more civilized) and I’m posting this because what I saw in Miami and just now in Atlanta is so bizarre I can hardly believe it.
I’m a huge people watcher, always have been and I guess that will never change. While in the boarding area in Miami, I noticed an old lady with a hell of a shiner and couldn’t decide if she’d (a) been in an awful accident or (b) gotten some plastic surgery. I also watched a tall, elegant middle aged man who had diamond status (Kent and I each have platinum, so that man flies a lot) and his son and wife (she sort of just wafted around, barely noticeable to be honest) and then this completely beautiful family of three: husband—very stylishly dressed, wife (also quite stylish and young, probably late 20s) and their daughter, equally beautiful and probably about eight. I remember thinking what a beautiful family they were; they weren’t American and I guessed that they were from somewhere in Latin America although I never heard them speak anything other than accented English.
Anyway, once we boarded things got ugly. The mother was immediately confrontational and lit into a man who was apparently sitting in her seat. I mean to say that she demanded to see his boarding pass and got really snotty with the flight attendant. Things don’t normally escalate like than on any plane but this situation did in a hurry, never mind that the man in the wrong seat was trying his best to ensure that she sat with her daughter. Sharp words were exchanged (all by her, not by the “offending” passenger who was the very soul of reasonableness) and finally everyone was in a seat. Kent and I exchanged eye rolls, I will confess, but hey not my circus, not my monkeys.
Until we were deplaning.
I spoke to the passenger who’d been in the wrong seat to tell him what a great voice he has (truly great, very deep bass notes, kind of gravely, you’d love to hear that voice on the radio) and then I apparently committed my cardinal sin: I told him what he did was nice. Well, that just opened up a can of worms. On the jet bridge, the mother absolutely lit into me and went on and on about how judgmental I’d been, how it was HER seat and clearly I wasn’t a mother.
Wow. Seriously? I’m not a mother because I thought the other passenger did something nice? To be honest, I just started laughing at her (not nice I know but really??) and she just went off even more. Then her husband got into it and as we walked down the concourse, she said we were pieces of shit. I didn’t hear that bit but Kent did and he said, “Excuse me??” And finally I’d had enough and said well actually I have two sons and three grandchildren and good luck with your life, lady, you’re going to need it.
So now I’m still sitting here in the Sky Club just amazed. You know, she could have played that so differently when they got on the plane. I would bet you anything that the man with the cool voice, the one who ended up sitting directly in front of me, would have swapped with her husband so all three could sit together. But that family chose the nuclear option and now at least 10 people from our cabin, the ones who could hear the whole thing, think they’re jerks.
There’s a meme running around Facebook these days which I think fits here really well. It costs nothing to be a decent human being. Words to live by, don’t you think?