A passenger flying this week from New York City to Dallas was kicked off a plane after throwing a fit and insisting that "not everyone celebrates Christmas." The man apparently didn't like holiday greetings. The passengers all cheered as the irate man was led off the plane. But I kind of feel for him.
Lord knows, rude passengers are a dime a dozen when it comes to flying and flight attendants put up with an enormous amount of crap. But you know what? So do passengers.
I don't know this man and I don't know all the details of this flight. But I do know that I have flown a million times in my life and put up with an enormous amount of abuse from flight attendants and gate check people who are flippant, rude and simply don't care. Flying is a highly charged, emotional experience.
Most of the time we are rushing. We have a million bags and things to keep track of, no food, and we get crammed into tiny seats. And for all of this, we have usually paid an enormous amount of cash. Why is it OK for the airlines to treat us terribly?
Maybe in this case, the story is as we see. Maybe this guy had a terrible attitude and deserved to get kicked off the plane. But maybe, just maybe, he had been through the gauntlet of crazies on his way to the gate. Maybe the check-in people were rude, he had a bad experience at security, and was then treated rudely while boarding. Why is that so hard to believe?
Maybe after all that, hearing "merry Christmas" sounded like a load. Or maybe he is sick and tired of being non-Christian and being told to celebrate a holiday that means to nothing to him again and again. Anyone who has ever been non-Christian at Christmas can relate to that.
I am Jewish and while personally, I am happy to get holiday greetings however they come, I also know plenty of people who prefer "happy holidays." Why is that so hard for people?
This man could have been as bad as he seems. But I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I've just flown too many terrible airlines to believe their story. It's hard to get on a plane in this day and age and not be a Grinch, after all.
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