Tension in the Sky

Returning from Florida on Sunday, I boarded the plane, carryon placed above and took my seat. An elderly man walked on with his 20 something son. He kindly asked the man already sitting in the row of three seats if he wouldn’t mind giving him the aisle seat for his son since he obviously had some physical and mental deficiencies. To my chagrin the man refused. He would not sit in the middle or at the window, claiming he had to use the bathroom many times on this two and a half hour flight! My question is how could anyone look at this elderly man and his adult mentally and physically challenged son and not acquiesce? From that point on there was tenseness in that whole area of rows, obviously the other people having witnessed this act of selfishness. Many of them then began volunteering their seats (on the aisle) to aide the man and his son.

What drives one person to graciously give up their seat and another person not to? Is it inner peace, empathy for others, selflessness? It’s funny, here this man wouldn’t give up his “comfort” and yet he did. I watched him periodically through the flight and could sense the discomfort he had created for himself. He for sure was less comfortable in his aisle seat than he would’ve been in the middle or window. You could see he was tormented the rest of the flight for having made a poor decision to serve himself rather than help another. I hope he learned from his mistake and I hope next time he makes a selfless decision.

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  1. Sounds like this man left his compassion at check-in. I bet he didn’t sleep well that night! You know it’s interesting to observe the behavior of others in a situation such as this one. When I take my sister, ( who is obviously mentally challenged) out for the day, people are either kind, helpful and compassionate or terribly uncomfortable in her presence and turn away.

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