Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Hellish Day: Part One

We are safe. But not yet quite sound.

Yesterday morning the alarm didn't go off, my fault, and we were then in a panicked rush to get to the airport. Finally made it through bag drop off, security and then customs. Made it to the plane just in time for boarding. Discovered a mistake on the ticket regarding seating. The attendant who assisted me worked really hard to find us a seat that we could use. She did and we made it onto the plane.

This was a plane we'd not been on before and it was cramped. Really cramped. I sat down in my seat and got ready to leave. A fellow, a good looking guy, came and sat in the seat in front of me. Maybe 10 minutes into a 5 minute flight he flopped his seat way back. Now, I'm in pain and he knew it because I yelped when the seat crushed my knee. He simply wouldn't budge. It was a morning flight, no one else had their seat back except the guy in front of me.

Not only that he would throw his body back against the seat like he was telling me that I had to move my knee. I couldn't. He seemed to intentionally want to physically hurt me. No, I didn't speak to him about this. It's his right to put the seat back, and, frankly, I was really tired from just trying to get to the airport and onto the plane.

I had to get up a couple times to use the toilet and did so by slithering up the back of my chair pulling my body away from his chair. A remarkable feat of engineering I'd say. When I got back I had to speak to him. I asked if he'd put his seat up so I could get into my seat. He looked up and stared at me, I could see he was deciding if he'd do it or not. For a tense 5 minutes I wondered why he was so angry at me, why wouldn't he respond to a civil request. He turned from me raised the seat and I sat down. Then he slammed the seat back as hard as he could and, for a moment, the pain was unbearable.

5 hours I sat in pain.

When we landed I was jubilant, but this would turn out to not even being in the running on my list of things that went wrong that day.

6 comments:

leslie sobel said...

Wow and yikes - that sounds awful and worse to come?? Ugh!

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

I am sorry that you encountered a bully on that flight and then endured his torment for five hours ... and that that wasn't even the worst part of the day.

clairesmum said...

Oh oh....the travel gods were not smiling on you on this trip, it seems.

Unknown said...

I don't accept such a situation! No, you shouldn't be required to be in pain so someone else can put their seat back! You have the right to speak up and say you're being hurt -- you have the right to ask for something to be changed or someone to be moved so as not to be in pain. You have the right to ask this guy, or the staff.

If you were talking to someone at one of your conferences, what would you tell them?

Dave Hingsburger said...

Dear Unknown,

It's easy to figure out what other people should do in various situations. I do speak up a lot. I do raise hell often. But I don't always have the strength or the desire for fight. I endured because that's all I could do. Maybe not what I should have done, I get that, but disability comes with it a series of situations every day, barriers pop up with surprising regularity, harsh attitudes from strangers are common. And. It. Wears. You. Down. I would tell whoever told me this story that I was sad that that happened to them. I no longer, I finally realized, always know the right answer.

Rosemary said...

I soo relate to all of this, Dave. Tears are streaming down my face.