The plane was far from full on my 55 minute flight from San Jose to LAX. I was surprised when the door was closed because there were so many empty seats. Since I’m claustrophobic I pre-boarded and secured my seat on the aisle in the second row of the plane.
The gentleman to my left in the front seat of the plane had his laptop open and was furiously pounding away at the keys. When the steward told us to turn off all of our electronic devices the stranger pulled his phone out of his pocket, only to respond to a text. He also continued to pound away on his lap-top. I couldn’t help but notice that when he finished his text he put his phone back into the pocket of his jacket without turning it off.
The stewardess stood up and did the usual safety show, as the steward used the microphone to rattle off the directions that frequent flyers have heard so many times. The instructions started with the admonition to turn off everything with an off and on switch and the stewardess looked right at the man’s computer. He made no move to turn it off. “Cocky bugger,” I thought, and wondered if she was going to say anything to the bozo that was ignoring her instructions.
The stewardess finished her spiel and the man kept typing away at his computer. The steward once again gave the admonition to turn off all electronic devices over the intercom. I was wondering if the guy was a jerk or too stupid to know that a computer is an electronic device. I was leaning heavily towards my first assumption. The steward had to ask the man directly to turn off his computer. I watched as he put it in what looked to be sleep mode and tucked it away. After he put away his computer he received another text and was responding to it as the steward and stewardess took their seats at the front of the plane.
I was looking at the man with total disdain, and the stewardess was looking at me looking at him. She turned to the steward and advised him that man was still texting. The steward, who had been gracious and friendly up to this point, got up and told the man once more that he needed to turn off all electronic devices and that he had already been asked three times. As the man was finishing his text the very professional steward asked him if he understood. Mr. Obstinate said yes but continued texting, and the steward advised him that if he had to ask him again we would taxi back and escort him off of the plane. I wanted to high-five the assertive attendant because personally, I was ready to slap the obnoxious man upside the head.
As a very young girl I wanted to be a stewardess, and if my life had gone differently I may have made a darn good one. However, in watching this exchange I knew, this feisty redhead would not have asked the steward to handle the situation. I would have told that turkey to turn off his computer and his phone or be escorted off of the plane a lot sooner. Guess that’s why I wasn’t meant to be a stewardess.
I spent most of the short flight reading my Skymiles magazine and giving the man who believed the world revolved around him the stink eye. I know I can usually feel it when someone is staring at me and I’m surprised the man never turned to ascertain which person was boring holes into the back of his head.
When we stood to de-plane the lady next to the arrogant man asked if he could get her bag from the overhead and he was so gracious and pleasant that I wondered if I hadn’t judged him too severely. I hadn’t. I was behind the jerk when he stopped to ask the steward for his name. I’ll just say he used the name Bob. When Mr. Obstinate asked if he would tell him what his last name was Bob said, “No.” As I walked by our friendly flight team I told Bob that he had handled the situation very professionally. “I wanted to pop him one,” I whispered.
Sure enough when we got to the terminal the creep went to the ticket counter and got out a piece of paper and a pen and started writing down what was obviously Bob’s name. I almost stopped to tell him what an arrogant jerk he was but decided against it. I’ve mellowed with age because back in the day I wouldn’t have hesitated. I did, however, resolve to write to Southwest Airlines about the incident to make sure that Bob did not get into any trouble. I know the old saying is, “The customer is always right,” but as the owner of a bar I can tell you it just ain’t so.
As I stood in baggage claim waiting for my luggage I found myself wondering why the incident annoyed me so badly. I left the house in a great humor with wonderful expectations for my writing conference and this stranger’s actions and demeanor had completely soured my mood. I truly felt that if I could have smacked him I would have felt better. This was not the attitude of a Christian. With prompting from the Holy Spirit I prayed for the pitiful man and asked for forgiveness for my conduct.
Why is it as human beings we are so easily led by our emotions? I’ve come a long way, but my short flight proved to me that I still have much further to go. I forgot all about writing to Southwest Airlines and now feel bad about it. What if Bob suffered some disciplinary action because I didn’t follow through? Okay, so now I need to work on not being led by my feelings and following through when I promise myself I will do something.
The good news is that I am a work in progress and God loves me just the way I am. He wouldn’t love me any less if I followed my feelings and smacked the guy, and he wouldn’t love me any more if I blessed the man instead. It’s a concept that is mind-boggling but in those moments when I truly embrace it, I feel Christ’s love washing over me and I am transformed.