Thursday, 7 July 2016

An open letter to the man travelling alone from Cyprus.

You were already sitting in the aisle seat when we finally boarded the Easyjet aeroplane at Paphos International Airport this week after a four hour delay in hot and humid conditions. The seats next to you were empty.

Almost everyone huffed and puffed their way down the narrow aisle, some demonstrating short tempers after hours of waiting when mostly at that point people just want to be home.

The crew were smiling but obviously keen to turnaround as quickly as possible - they'd been delayed on the outbound leg too so were desperate to keep to the new disrupted schedule at least. No-one wanted to miss that crucial takeoff slot.

Then a couple carrying a squabbling toddler emerged through the aircraft door, blinking as their eyes adapted from the bright hot sunshine outside. The aircraft was icy compared to the climate on the steps but they immediately asked for water - they looked very hot and tired.

Of course their seats were next to yours.

You got up with good grace and let them poke bags under seats, cases overhead, juggle baby and bags and bottles and pacifiers and scraggy old bits of fabric which were obviously much loved comforters.

You just smiled calmly and batted away their frantic apologies with good natured reassurance.

They were still settling themselves when their toddler invaded what little personal space you had and grabbed for your legs and the magazines in the net in front of you.  You just chatted to the little one with absolutely not a trace of irritation in your voice.

I silently applauded you. And shamefully admitted to myself that I was very glad it wasn't me sitting next to the baby.

The cabin crew offered you a change of seat, in fact a whole row to yourself which would move you away from the sweaty, sticky little person who was already tiring of the novelty of a new place and starting to give voice to his feelings.

The move gave the exhausted looking parents the chance to have a spare seat to use for the mountain of stuff which travels with parents of small people, and even for a while for the little one to spread out and sleep.

You did not jump up and run without a backward glance. Of course you accepted the move but with such good grace the parents surely didn't feel you were relieved to be have the chance to relocate.

I have travelled with grumpy, tired, screeching toddlers and bored young children and been acutely aware of the passengers round me. I have never had any problems but still, man travelling alone, the way you gracefully did everything you could to make those parents feel comfortable about travelling as a family deserved a standing ovation from the whole aeroplane.

I hope Karma rewards you.


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