From Hell To Heaven

August 20, 2009

in Illness/Medical Stories

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. It was May 1976, I was 18. My first time and alone on an airplane and headed out from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Denver, Colorado. I was going to spend the whole month of May with my cousins hiking, camping and enjoying the Rockies.

It was scheduled as a 5 hour flight. I was so excited and yet scared to death. I even got a window seat. It was a breakfast flight back when they actually served real food. I was really enjoying the take off, the partial blue sky, looking down at the clouds, the height and thought this was the coolest (wait lets use the slang of the 70’s – it was the grooviest ) thing ever! Until the turbulence.

I sat next to two missionary monks heading back to Colorado who looked like they were in their 20’s. I could tell they were Monks by the brown outfits they were wearing and their sandals. I tried not to step on their bare toes. Well the flight started out ok, we were served our breakfast early in the flight, until it became quite turbulent and it was seat belt time according to the seat belt sign and that special DING noise. I never took mine off; in fact, it was so tight my legs were numb. I was fine, maybe a little nervous, a little white knuckled to be sure. I figured this couldn’t be any worse than a roller coaster ride which I always survived with a smile. Except we were 30,000 feet high! Then the unthinkable happens – the monks next to me turned an interesting shade of green, their eyes rolled to the back of their skulls, and all you could see was the whites of their eyes and they decided that they should puke in synchronization into their breakfast trays. OH NO! This can’t be happening, not on my first flight! It was all I could do to keep from gagging and trying to keep my eyes from rolling to the back of my own skull.

I turned my head to the window and I had both hands on each side of my face trying desperately to press my face through the Plexiglas to the outside of the plane and hold my breath for the next 4 hours. I was trapped in my seat, legs numb, all three trays down. Trapped like a rat! Somebody help me! Until I heard the stewardess say something like “You have to use these bags for air sickness gentlemen!” I turned toward the stewardess and she must have seen that I was gagging and my eyes were rolling in my head and I was turning a little green around the gills, while my lips were turning blue from holding my breath; I must have been a site to see. The stewardess quickly cleared the trays away balancing them so nothing spilled out. In what seemed like an eternity, she came back and asked me if I would like to move to another seat. I think I jumped over both monks whose heads were bobbing around.

I followed the stewardess past a few aisles of seats and I started to breath again. We were heading towards the front of the plane. I was really trying to keep my balance due to the plane swaying to and fro. Maybe it was from being a little dizzy from holding my breath or my legs still trying to get blood. We just kept going until the stewardess parted the blue curtain like Moses parting the Red Sea. I realized we were headed to first class and there on the port side (that’s the left side for all you earthly bound folks) of the plane was an empty seat! I thought nah can’t be. Really! The stewardess smiled, she knew it was my first time, yes, I was a virgin flyer. For the next four hours I thought I was in heaven sipping on a ginger ale to calm my nerves. Well maybe just a little closer to heaven.

Signed, Seth Garvin

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodi August 21, 2009 at 5:13 am

Although it was a story similar to many I’ve read on here, I really liked the way you write. Thank you for submitting it.


SAW August 21, 2009 at 9:53 am

Ahhh… back in the good old days… when the flight attendants would actually do things like that…

I wish I could go back there again… and everything would be the same…


TheBigM August 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

God bless you, a just reward for someone who suffered with dignity.


Laura January 4, 2010 at 6:01 am

My cheeks hurt from laughing. I'm sorry about your experience but the way you wrote it was hilarious!


Stories From The Air May 4, 2013 at 4:26 am

Why don't write on Flights From Heaven


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