I think I’ve mentioned before that I tend to get a little weepy when I travel. I don’t know what it is, but I am often over emoted for no good reason. I have found myself, more than once, overcome with emotion watching even the silliest of events - a mother chasing her child or an older couple going through security. The thing that gets me every single time, though, is kids traveling alone…unaccompanied minors. It even sounds awful, like they are orphans lost in the bowels of the FAA.
It is that soft spot I have for these tiny travelers that got me into the mess I was in yesterday. After a harrowing experience with US Air that involved me showing up for an 8:30am flight that got moved, then moved again and finally cancelled, I bailed on that lame excuse for an airline and bought a ticket home from
For my leg from
They were tiny. They might as well have been walking to war the way the emotion welled up inside of me. I wanted to rush over to that mother and hug her, I wanted to run down the jet way and grab those boys so I could return them where they belong…with their mother!
But, I didn’t. Instead, I told myself I would sit with those boys to make sure no one took advantage of them and also to make them feel safe because it must be scary to fly alone at such a young age.
I walked right to the row where they were sitting and plopped myself down in the aisle seat. I didn’t want to freak them out, so I didn’t start talking to them right away. After all, I was a stranger and although I know my intentions, they did not.
I learned that the older boy was named
It was about 30 minutes into the flight when the 2nd fight began. The DS hand helds had made another appearance and
The grandmotherly woman next across the aisle spoke first, “You’re going to have to separate them.”
I protested, “But they’re not my kids. I just sat next to them.”
She looked at me like I was nuts, “That doesn’t matter…just sit between them.”
Oh, right, I am the adult here. I can use my grown up voice and maybe scare them into behaving. I got the little one to move over to my seat and I jumped in the middle. It was in that spot that I became the defacto mother. The things discussed included:
Where are you going? (Grandma & Grandpa’s house)
How high are we?
When will we be in outer space?
Are the drinks and peanuts free?
How many oceans will we fly over?
When do we fly over the
Am I familiar with the DS system (no) and do my kids have one? (no)
I also got an amusing story about the time
From the magic backpack emerged 2 packs of Cheetos. Between those, the Cokes (they swore up and down they were allowed to have them on special occasions) and an unending supply of peanuts, these boys were set…for a little while.
Then they started getting bored and were all jittery from the sugar. They wanted to sit near each other again and play.
I stalled for a while. I took out the map from the airline magazine and randomly started talking to them about where we were, where we were going, where they had been before, but once we started the initial decent,
And thus, we landed to the sounds of
And then I realized, their mother’s tears were not the sobs of a broken hearted mother. They were tears of joy. “Grandma and Grandpa be dammed, Mama needs a break,” is I know what she said to herself as she drove home from the Tampa airport alone in absolute silence.