I was both amused and saddened by the incident on board JetBlue that propelled Steven Slater a flight attendant for over twenty years to blow his cool. His decision to respond to a passenger’s rudeness will likely cost him his job and perhaps a prison sentence.
A huge portion of the population felt a sense of satisfaction that at last someone had the nerve to say what so many stuff every day. I fly a lot and I have witnessed a lot of situations that have left me in a state of disbelief.
Flying used to be something you felt was special and you even dressed for the occasion. People often had their Sunday best on and behaved as if they were visiting their old maiden aunt. Over the years I have seen clothing on individuals that looked as if that had just rolled out of bed. Disheveled doesn’t even cut it.
Food is brought on board now and many don’t care if their pizza carton spills over onto your lap, or that you really don’t want to hear them chewing and talking on their cell phone at the same time.
Some people spend time trying to shove an over loaded suitcase into a bin meant to handle a gerbil’s luggage. It doesn’t matter to them that there are twenty or so people behind them waiting to get on. The world has become filled with entitled, self absorbed individuals whose primary goal in life is to get what they need at the expense of the rest of us.
I have watched as individuals walk into elevators as I’m trying to get out with no thought that they should wait. Their eyes are glazed over and their ear is glued to a phone as they blah, blah, blah!
One has only to read the newspaper daily to see the results of how our lack of civility has begun to unravel our society. We are less patient, more aggressive and violence is more prevalent. I don’t ever remember reading about a disgruntled employee killing several of their co-workers when I was growing up. It seems par for the course over the last several years.
Does this mean we’re all going to hell in a hand basket? No, because there are many kind, considerate, patient people who role model civility every day. However, we might want to view Slater’s dilemma as one that we should all begin to respond to by being more vigilant every day about how we communicate and react. Our presence in the world can make a positive or negative impact..you choose.
Loretta LaRoche writes the Get a Life column for the Patriot Ledger.