Polyester Leisure Suited Passenger

March 26, 2013

in Odds & Ends Stories

Nineteen seventy-eight, I’m 17 years old, and flying from the US to take my grandfather home to England. He’d had a massive stroke, and needed a great deal of assistance. As his left side was paralyzed, I had to zip him up after he went to the bathroom. Since I was meeting relatives I hadn’t seen in 10 years, my mom insisted that I wear my 200% polyester leisure suit, not the most comfortable attire.

There was what could be be described as an ugly American in training on the flight, about 8 years old, running all over the plane, and basically annoying all the flight attendants and passengers. His mother was gloriously oblivious. About halfway through the flight, I was slowly walking my grandfather up the aisle after a bathroom trip. Very slowly. The little boy was walking right behind me and poking me quite forcefully in the back going “beep beep,” with the occasional push thrown in. I finally stopped, bent down to ear level and said, “If you touch me one more time, I’m going to snap your f#$%ing finger off.” He blanched and ran off in the other direction screaming for his mom.

The mom decided it was time to pay attention and called over a flight attendant to complain about what I said. The flight attendant comes up to me and says, “I’ve been asked to speak to you about what you said to that little boy. On behalf of the crew, thank you, we’ve all been wanting to say something like that. There. I spoke to you.” Then she gave me a free beer.

To top it off, England had the worst snowstorm of the past 20 years, the flight was delayed 4 hours on the tarmac in a different airport, and by the time I found my uncle I had been awake for 37 hours. Ever seen an Englishman drive in his first snowstorm ever? On bald tires? I ended up driving his right hand drive manual transmission car for 2 hours with no sleep, in the snow, on the wrong side of the road, with my idiot uncle telling me what I was doing wrong the entire time. Oh, don’t spend 39 hours in a 200% polyester leisure suit.

It was a very educational trip.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber March 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm

That sounds like a terrible trip! :$ I love what the flight attendant said to you, though! Haha! But, hey, if I'd gotten to drive a standard, that would at least be one of the highlights of my day. Well, maybe that's just me… :')


Kate April 9, 2013 at 11:58 am

You didn't even try to politely say something to the kid or the mom? Yes, the mom should have had better control of her child, but you could have tried saying something nice first instead of just swearing at the kid. Yes, I understand you were frustrated, but that seems a bit overboard.

Though after your 'ugly American . . . ' comment, it seems like you just had your mind made up from the start.


Troy May 19, 2013 at 12:17 am

Shut it Kate. The little shit evidently deserved it.


Lucy May 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

You are obviously from the planet of the bitches. Actyally you sound like the Bi**ch athat made my sister's life miserable after my sister's SO of 11 years died — perhaps you should crawl in your hole and make everyone's lives less miserable.


Kate May 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm

That was really uncalled for. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinon, and that’s fine, but there’s really no need to repeatedly call me bitch, especially when I did nothing to you.


Ardie April 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm

If you read my post again, you will see that this wasn't an isolated event, and I WAS 17! The kid was misbehaving from the start. I could add that the crew had spoken to the mom, but as I noted, she wasn't doing anything about. it. The kid wasn't listening to the crew, or anyone else, do you really think he's going to listen to a 17 year old?

When a kid doesn't realize that shoving someone and poking them in the back isn't acceptable behavior, I sort of doubt he will respond to polite words. After several hours on the plane, and walking behind a very slow moving 83 year old man with a kid shoving you and poking you in the back, I challenge you to be polite.

And I am an American (half, anyway). Lack of control over children isn't isolated to Americans, but it isn't that uncommon either.


Lori Rodriguez April 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I agree entirely Ardie! That kid wasn't going to stop no matter what. Perhaps Kate is one of those oblivious parents that thinks whatever their little precious is doing is as entertaining to everyone else as it is to her. Or maybe has the idea that as long as he's bothering everyone else he's leaving her alone. Whichever the case, she's dead wrong.


Kate April 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Thanks for making assumptions about me, but no, you're wrong. I'm not a parent, and I don't subscribe to the thinking that kids are precious and can do no wrong (though I'm not a parent, so I can't speak from a parent's point of view). Kids can be very annoying, and oblivious moms can be annoying too, whomever they are bothering. If you read my reply below, I acknowledge that I didn't realize that anyone had approached the kid or mom before Ardie yelled at him (it wasn't in the original post, but I clarified my response once he mentioned that part).

I know this is the internet, and people can hide behind usernames and such, but please read the whole thing before you start passing judgement and making assumptions willy-nilly. It's that kind of absolutist/sense of entitlement attitude that I was posting about originally.


Lori Rodriguez April 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Hardly hiding behind a user name sweetheart. And you're telling me to read? Funny funny funny


Tony May 19, 2013 at 12:29 am

Give it a rest Kate.


Kate April 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm

What does your age have to do with it? Did you not know how to treat people politely at 17?

Mentioning that the crew/other people did try to say something does change the story quite a bit, perhaps he did need some harsher words to get him to be quiet if politeness wasn't working.

I'm not saying that being in your situation it would be easy for me to be polite, I bet it was a very frustrating situation, but I don't think it's fair (in any situation in life) to take out frustrations necessarily on a person. Yes, the kid was annoying, but it's not his fault you had to follow a slow-moving 83 year-old man around. Though it's hard to judge the situation, I wasn't there, but from the way you tell the story it just comes across a bit harsh.

I still don't understand where the "ugly-American-in-training" part was necessary. You could have just described him as a horribly-annoying 8 year old child without having to bring any nationality into it and making a faulty generalization.


ardie April 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Now behave or I'm going to turn the car around.


Edward April 20, 2013 at 12:39 am

I must be missing something. I just don't understand why you at only 17 years old were the one escorting your elderly partly paralyzed from a stroke grandfather, all by yourself on a long plane trip to a foreign country. I would never put that much responsibility on someone that young. What were people thinking? I'm just trying to understand the situation. But I think you handled it the best you could for your age.


ardie12 April 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm

My mom was very ill, my dad was horrible with people, and not of the right mentality to deal with a senile stroke victim. I have older sisters but they were useless. Still are, actually. I can't remember why he had to get back to England. I grew up as a military brat, so I traveled a lot, and travelled to Europe on my own when I was 13 and 15. So it wasn't totally foreign to me.


Lucy May 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm

sick and tired of rude people to our young 17 year old — have compassion people.


USMom July 20, 2013 at 10:50 pm

It's called descriptive alliteration. And having an obnoxious kid walk behind you and poke you in the back and push you does deserve to be told his finger is going to get broken if he keeps it up. Obviously his mother isn't teaching him this. How else will he grow up and learn that there are consequences to his abusive behavior?
I am a parent, and am appalled by the way some children behave in public these days.


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