29 AUG 2017: A few months ago I was on a flight from London to Toronto. I was sitting in the aisle seat and a young man was sitting at the window. We had the middle seat empty between us. and just as the plane lifted off the ground the man in seat A looked out the window and hissed the ‘F’ word. Then he covered his head in his arms.  

Long after he fell asleep I was still staring at him.

Was this cause for alarm? Is this the kind of behaviour one would report to a flight attendant? I didn’t want to overreact, yet my imagination was in overdrive, for a minute.

But because I have a short attention span, I fell asleep.

I woke up to the man restlessly changing his position having now encroached onto the middle seat. One bare foot became exposed from his wrestling with the blanket, and when I saw his toes, I saw him as someone’s son, so my maternal instincts kicked in.

When he opened his eyes I said, “you know there is an empty row behind us. You could probably stretch out if you want to lie down.”

“I’m ok thank you” he said “but you go ahead if you like.” He fell asleep again.

When I awoke the second time he was saying prayers very quietly, so I turned to give him privacy.

The rest of the trip was uneventful.

When we started the descent he stared out the window and as soon as the wheels touched the ground he hissed the ‘F’ word again. This time he turned to see me staring at him.

“I have just spent two days at the airport” he explained. “I missed all my flights.”

Ok, that was good enough for me. Didn’t need to know if he slept through the flight announcements or if he got bumped or detained by security. I was good with that.

Just as it was my turn to leave the plane, I turned to him and said, “welcome home” and he said “thank you” giving me the most beautiful smile.

You know, the kind of smile that makes his mom proud of her boy.

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Pam Stellini

Pam Stellini is an original. Her quirky outlook and wry humour defy categorization. Readers have compared her to Erma Bombeck and Art Buchwald with a travel spin – and we're not about to argue. 

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