Author’s note: This post is an extract of a diary entry from 2009, I have written about a side of A4 a day for 20 years and as I was reading back through them I saw an entry which made me smile. It is a little longer than my normal post. I hope that is ok, I write in my diary most days so if you like this let me know I can add sometimes a diary reflection.
It was a snowy day in Chicago, December 2009. My last business trip of the year, I had arrived from Indianapolis. I was connecting through Chicago on my way to London. The Indy flight had sat on the tarmac for hours as a seat had broken and fell on the passenger behind them. The passenger made such a noise, I was certain she had to have been playing up for some compensation. I had heard the phrase several years before “Where there’s blame there’s a claim” America had not let me down with its litigious nature.
The passenger calmed down, the engineers installed a new seat and we were off. One bumpy hour later we arrived at Chicago airport. I walked to the to the departing gate like a person walks their hometown walk to school. This route had become so familiar over the last 8 years of travel.
I saw my gate a short walk off and I noticed a loud talking guy walking behind me. He was talking to a pal and packing every sentence full of profanity and racism. As we got closer to the gate the foul mouthed guy sped up and before the gate he stepped in front of me. He took one rude glance back and stated ‘I am first class!’ I must have been tired as I seldom suffer such rudeness.
Not that the guy cared but I was first class also, on the account of an upgrade but never-the-less. I was very much looking forward to a glass of wine an Advil p.m. and within 20 minutes out like a light.
When dealing with rude people I try and apply ‘Hanlons razor’. However, this guy can fall on ‘Hanlon’s razor’ and bleed to death. I could see the lady at check-in knew what type he was. She dealt with him the way most flight staff deal with jerks, with cordial politeness hiding the more baser instincts.
She mentioned he had seat 1B. Wait! “I have 1A” as I was just cursing my luck, when a child cried out loud. We all stopped to look at the young stressed mother trying to console and rock her child to sleep. Wait, I know that lady, I thought, well I know her as much as I helped her with her things through security at Indy airport. She told me her child was teething and that the travelling to London to see her grandmother who was poorly and might be seeing her grandchild for the first and last time.
The guy remarked to the Lady at the check-in desk something about being in first class and that children should not be allowed on flights. He then was off to stand for 30 minutes in the first class queue.
My time with a check-in lady was here. I like to stick up for the down trodden and I love pissing-off idiots but there are few times in life you can achieve both at the same time. If I am honest the motivation for the latter was the greater in this example.
I asked her if the young mother had checked in already and she replied she had. I asked her if I could discreetly swap my seat with hers as an early holiday gift. “What seat do you have Mr Chestney-Stagg?” the lady asked. I gave her my ticket and said seat 1A. She looked at me, then looked at the obnoxious guy and then smiled “yes Mr Chestney-Stagg that would be possible, and it would be my pleasure”.
I thanked her and went for a quick beer, I heard the young lady’s name called out to come to the desk for an upgrade. I enjoyed that cold beer and boarded my flight home. I finish this story sitting in seat 57C crammed in coach. I did not need for the wine and Advil p.m. I slept like a baby knowing that the guy in seat 1B just got a dose of karma and the young lady in 1A maybe thinks the world is a little nicer than before.