The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Please Be Seated

The mother, her four teenage daughters, and her preschool son have seated themselves completely at random near the back of the plane. A couple, whose seats the teens have occupied, come to claim their spots. This sets off a whole shuffle of family and belongings until people settle. However, now the mother is in my seat. I try to explain that I can sit wherever she’s supposed to be, but the mother moves to the next row, leaving her son in the middle seat next to me, wide-eyed, with a trembling lip. Anticipating some tears, I tell the flight attendant the mother can stay there, by her son. Yet, people keep boarding. Polite and impolite, patient and impatient passengers seek the spots on their boarding passes as the family roams from seat to seat.

Tyler, a twenty-year old future pilot, offers a solution. He takes the middle spot next to me, leaving a row open for the mother and her son, the giggling teens can rest behind them. The flight attendant smiles over Tyler in gratitude, “Oh, you will be spoiled on this flight.” She brings him coffee with a smile. He doesn’t like coffee. He tries to drink it anyway, just to be nice, as he flinches. I quiz him on aviation, then the guy by the window quizzes him. Tyler gets both armrests and our respect.

As we land, the little boy from the lost family begins to sing Old MacDonald, not knowing all the words, singing in a mumble like someone who isn’t sure of the words to an 80s pop song. Yet the boy is clear on the “E-I-E-I-O!,” and neighbors follow Tyler’s lead to smile and enjoy the flight.

Photo by Russell Fail.

Photo by Russell Fail.

–Denver to Dallas.

5 comments on “Please Be Seated

  1. joannerambling
    July 6, 2016

    Didn’t the woman with the teenagers have assigned seats, I thought when one flew they had assigned seats and couldn’t just sit wherever the wanted

    • Joanne,
      They did have assigned spots, but I think they may not have flown much before or didn’t understand the boarding cards. In the end, I don’t even know if they were in the seats they were supposed to take. It was odd because they didn’t start out all together in a row, which I would have understood, but totally at random around the back of the plane. πŸ™‚ Perhaps to stir everyone up a bit. Maybe it was a piece of art. πŸ˜€
      Have a nice weekend,

  2. Darlene
    July 7, 2016

    We experienced something similar at a movie theatre in Spain where everyone had assigned seats but not many followed the rule! It turned into mayhem and we missed the first part of Star Wars.

    • Assigned seats at a movie would throw me too! I’ve been in a bus in Bosnia where people were in our seats, so we sat elsewhere, then those people arrived, and we had to completely re-arrange. It causes me to break out in a panic just to stir up that image! πŸ˜€ So, so very rule-abiding am I! πŸ™‚

      • Darlene
        July 9, 2016

        So am I, and my hubby is even worse as he is British. These things can be unnerving.

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This entry was posted on July 6, 2016 by in people watching at DIA, Travel, USA, Writing.

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