At one point last year I was flying out to Winnipeg. I boarded the connecting flight in Toronto and was seated by a window. The space beside me was empty as was the aisle seat across from me. A fellow next to it was beside his window and wearing a headset.
Just as I was assuming I would have an empty seat for the trip, a woman and her son made their way down the aisle. She stopped just forward of my location. She looked at their boarding passes and looked at the seat numbers. She looked at me. She spoke in a somewhat assertive tone.
“Excuse me. You have a choice to make. You can move and sit beside this person,” (pointing to the guy with the headset on) “or you can have a five-year-old sitting beside you.”
I was mildly irritated by the fact that she simply didn’t say, “Excuse me. Do you mind changing seats so that I can sit with my son?” Of course I would do that; mind you, I do like the window seat. But it was her tone and the fact that she said I had a choice to make. REALLY? Is THAT how you are going to ask me? I decided I was not going to be bullied.
“Does he snore?”
“Does your son snore?”
“No,” with attitude.
“Because I plan on resting my head against the bulkhead and having a nap. If you son snores then that would be a factor. But if he doesn’t, then by all means, he can sit here.”
She hesitated. The look of disdain told me she wasn’t impressed. She then started the process of getting her son seated.
At this point, the guy across from me looked up and realized what was happening. He took off his headset and spoke to the woman.
“Excuse me. Would you like me to sit with that gentleman,” (pointing at me) “so that you and your son can sit together?”
She responded, “Thank you. I would appreciate that.”
Now I felt like a schmuck. When the guy sat beside me I wanted to tell him about the exchange I had with the mother. I avoided the temptation.
WHY, did she have to ask me that way? Besides, why did she assume the threat of having a five-year-old next to me would send me packing? It would have afforded me more elbow room.
Was I a bad person?
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