Monday, May 30, 2011

The man sitting next to me on the plane was a source of

concern. In his early thirties he seemed a little high strung.

Our initial conversation before the airplane took off was about the age of the craft. It appeared to be quite old to him as there were ashtrays in each armrest. To me the seats looked like any other and the plane shook like the rest as we headed up into the sky.

Then there was the tapping of the feet and the unending restlessness. He was cold. Then hot. Put on an extra shirt and then took it off. Kept rubbing his one hand. Then couldn't get comfortable. Constant moving. As he had the seat next to the window and had to get past me to get to the aisle I wasn't too worried that he was going to run screaming out the plane door but something clearly had to be done.

So I started the conversation with the "Are you going to Honolulu for business?" question. No, he was moving there. After more restlessness I suggested that he walk up and down the aisle to get warm. (And work off some energy though I didn't tell him that). He did and then came back to tell me more of the story. He was from a town in Florida where I had lived for many years. His business had failed, he lost his house to foreclosure, His wife had been a teacher who lost her job/s. No maternity leave available and her job was given to someone else each time a child was born. Through the death of a family member they had inherited a house and money in Hawaii. He had job waiting for him. The wife and tiny children were already there.

Took him 6 weeks to sell most of the family belongings. Then came the phone call that his toddler daughter was found walking on the H1 (which is a major freeway in Hawaii). She was being watched by another relative who left her alone with unlocked doors and the child did what other 2 year olds do. Walked out the front door.

He got the first ticket to Hawaii that he could.

Finally he fell asleep leaving me to ponder the purpose of strangers in each others lives. Not to say that the trip was smooth sailing after this. Still a lot of agitation and walking up and down the aisles. But by the end of the trip he was teasing me about would I be able to find my son's apartment via the waiting rental car and pointing out different sights as we were landing.

I wish him well.


Jane said...

Not too long ago I had a similar situation on a plane. I had planned to read, but ended up talking with a young pregnant teen. This past month my dh was on a rough trip when a stranger next to him had him laughing all the way home. I was so grateful for that person. I think sometimes strangers are put there to give us just the kindness we need.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

So glad you could help the poor man settle down some. What a bitter/sweet story he had!

Lost jobs... Inheritance and job waiting... Child hurt or killed... Oh sigh...

I'm so glad you could help him.

She-who-still-can't-make-my-preferred-pics-post. But I think its my issue and not Blogger, this time.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Great new Header picture!

You are really spreading your wings, with this Header pic changing. Hooray!!! :-)

She-who-still-can't-make-my-preferred-pics-post. But I think its my issue and not Blogger, this time.

east village idiot said...

That guy sounded unstable. Sorry you had to go through that for such a long period of time. He was so lucky to have someone as compassionate as you are sitting next to him. I'd say you were the blessed stranger in his life.