Cowards and Tragedies

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Arrival screen, Airport Lounge, Kirkwall, Orkn...A couple of months ago, I watched a guy drink too much whiskey at an airport lounge. He slurred his words and said all kinds of obnoxious shit.

Then I was lucky enough to get on the same plane with him where a flight attendant served him several beers.

When he stepped off the plane and into the terminal, he fell. Hard. Then he got up and stumbled away. The gate agent looked at him and laughed. Others stood around and laughed at him, too.

I was visibly shaking. I walked up to the gate agent and said, “That guy is probably going to get in his car and drive home. Can you do something?”

He asked, “Whaddya want me to do?”

Then he proceeded to give me several reasons why he wasn’t about to pick up the phone and call airport security. He actually told me, “This isn’t my airline.”

Orlly? Needless to say, I addressed this with his airline. I detailed the whole chain of failures — from the airport lounge to the flight attendant — that led to this mess. And for the record, I haven’t seen the gate agent since this incident.

But back to the drunk guy…

…nobody around him would do anything. Not the airline employees. Not his fellow passengers. Not even me at first. But as I saw this guy slump onto an empty baggage carousel to wait for his suitcase, I had to do something. I am a petite woman and I’m not about to confront a big, drunk man and ask him how he plans to get home. So I quickly found an airport cop.

I asked for help.

He walked over to the guy, took one look and said, “I’m on it.”

Bam. Done. Easy.

So I ask all of you — where the fuck are you people when it counts? This guy was a mess. He could have hurt himself or someone you love. And none of you did anything. How often do you turn a blind eye to someone in his condition? Did you even notice?

Ya know, I’m not asking the world to step up and cure alcoholism. And certainly this drunk is responsible for his behaviors. I just wonder — what else are you ignoring either willfully or intentionally? And I wonder what I’m ignoring, too.

What would you do if you saw this guy? And how many times have you let some five-foot-tall woman solve a problem that you could have easily solved yourself?

The world is full of cowards who contribute to tragedies. Don’t be one of them.

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