Friday, May 18, 2012

62. Mr. Luggage

When I saw him in the airport an hour earlier, I knew he would be on my flight.  I knew he would have all that junk with him and refuse to check it.  I knew he would yell at me for not enough overheard luggage room. 

I just knew. 

I got onboard and did my pre-flight safety checks.  The image of him with all that stuff haunted me.  Please don’t be on my flight, I prayed.     
The flight was overbooked.  All the overhead bins were completely full.  We were just getting ready to shut the airplane door, when the gate agent said, “There’s one more passenger.”  It was him.  Naturally.    
“Is there room for my carry-ons?” he asked, his raspy voice neither confrontational nor pleasant.  “I need to stow these things.” 

I couldn’t tell which way this conversation was going to go.  In a decade of flying, I’d had literally thousands of such encounters.

“Sir, the bins are full,” I replied in my best no-nonsense flight attendant tone, “We will have to check those bags.” 
That is when it happened. 

He let out a yelp, a strange sound I couldn’t quite place, then he dropped to the floor and wept.  I felt 135 sets of eyeballs focus on me and Mr. Luggage.   

“Sir, get up,” I demanded, “I can’t help you if you’re on the floor.” 

He calmly stood up and reached into his back pocket.  I knew he was reaching for a gun, a gun that he’d somehow managed to sneak past security, and that he was going to shoot me for merely doing my job.  A gunshot would obviously mean a flight delay, and if I did not die, I would be fired for causing the delay. 

I braced myself to be shot. 

“This is a photo of Lily, my new daughter I am adopting in China,” he said, holding out a glossy 5x7, “I’m going to get her.”  Big tears slid down his face. 

We made room for his bags.     

a trifecta writing challenge 


  1. Aw! I was scared when he unraveled and am happy for the happy ending. (And I always suspected flight attendants can figure out how to squeeze in another bag or two.)

  2. i felt the flight attendant's pain and dread. i had a job for five years that dealt with less than pleasant customers. but, when there is that one person who doesn't act like a complete jerk, you immediately feel a bit better about the day. or, even if it is a hassle, when something like that comes about, you can't help but be assuaged.

  3. Super job with this. I'm a sap for happy endings.

  4. Aww, loved the happy ending. :)

  5. Cute kid! That story would make anyone have a change of heart.

  6. What a great story! I couldn't stop reading. You know how to spin a tale.

  7. What a wonderful ending! I could feel the dread building up. Love the lessons that go to show how we can misjudge a situation.

  8. Aww!! That was a great story!

  9. I like the turn towards the end.

  10. I'm glad the flight attendant turned out to be a softie (and that he pulled out a picture rather than a gun!)

  11. Thank GOD it wasn't a gun. I loved the added photos to continue the story. And yes, please, make room for those bags and that carseat.

  12. awwwww - poor distraught daddy

  13. Thanks for linking up this weekend. I loved the insider's look at the flight attendant. I can only imagine what they think when they see me and my two kids board one of the 2 12+ hour flights we have to take to get home. Someone is usually crying before we check our bags. Often, that person is me. :-) Hope to see you back again soon.

  14. Awwwww. I loved this. I had a feeling something good was coming. That gun would never have gotten through, expect O'Hare maybe. And flight attendants can always make room. Loved picture at the end. So sweet!

  15. Perfect. A winner, last picture did it.

  16. oh my, I was so moved by this... great piece

    Roadtrip: On my way from A all the way to Z!
    English Speaking Zone


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