So a week ago we set off on our European Adventure and to get there we needed to start by taking 2 long flights. I hate long flights. I can’t stand being ‘stuck’ in the same small location for (on this occasion) 14 hours and then 7 hours.
Despite multiple strategies I cannot sleep on these flights and I invariably just watch the ‘time to destination’ clock tick down while watching movie after movie on the airline entertainment system. I also take the time to watch other travellers and their behaviour on these flights and how they react to the inconveniences that invariably pop up on this kind of journey. Some get annoyed while others are outright rude in their aggression. There was one such traveller on our 2nd flight to Edinburgh.
He appeared to be travelling with his 2 young children and his demeanour began to show before we even took off as he realised that there was a young baby in the row ahead of me. He swore when the passenger in front of him reclined his seat, he was rude multiple times to the airline staff as they were inquiring as to what meals his children wanted to order. He was visibly annoyed when he wasn’t able to be served a hot drink when turbulence hit and then berated the staff once the atmosphere calmed and they didn’t return to specifically provide him with his coffee.
He was first on his feet when the airplane stopped and was pushing his children into the aisle so they could be first off the plane. We all know that there is a delay until the doors are opened, but he seemed to take it as a personal affront, especially as we needed to wait for the business class passengers to disembark first. He pushed his way to the front of the passport queue and then was abusive to the border control staff when they served ‘priority’ passengers over him.
We last saw him as we were all waiting for our luggage to come out. I spotted him standing with his angry scowl and then the whole airport heard him as he yanked his case off the conveyor belt and stormed out of the airport. Despite all his bullying tactics it hadn’t actually gained him much advantage. This first of all brought me a sense of satisfaction as I thought “serves him right” which very quickly turned into feelings of pity and sadness, especially when I reflected on what message he was sending to these children in his care.
This man had been angry since before the flight began and had managed to maintain it for the duration and beyond. The bible has much to say about anger, and I love the translation of Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verse 9 from The Message. It reads, “Don’t be quick to fly off the handle. Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the bumps on his head.”
I asked myself what was going on for this man with ‘many bumps’ that meant this was the way he was moving through life on this day? I stopped to pray for him (and his children) and whatever had brought him to this point. No one should hold onto that kind of aggression for that long. If this is a description of you and your demeanour today then my prayer extends to you also. May all your boomerangs disappear!