I am boarding my flight. I checked in 3 days ago so that I can get a nice window seat. When I got on board there was a guy in my seat. I politely asked him to move so I can get my coveted window seat. He seem reluctant to move but finally did. As soon as he sat down next to me, he put half his arm over our shared armrest so about half of his elbow was on my side. He wouldn’t let me put my arm down and made me very uncomfortable in my own seat. I was furious, and those who know me I seldom get upset or visibly upset but I was saying out loud “what an asshole”, “dick”…. This guy who tried to “steal” my window seat and failed now resorts to childish acts to get back at me. I have been bullied countless times by people jumping the queue, pushing me, rudeness, selfishness, overall barbaric behaviour. I thought to myself, just another asshole from the asshole producing country.
As I sat in my seat being angry at him, I saw him fidget with the safely belt and TV screen. He made hand signs with the guy next to him kinda asking him how to use the thing. Suddenly I was like, oh no, maybe he’s just autistic and really wanted to look out the window. I heard him listen to some voice messages on his phone, and he clearly could type but he didn’t say a word on the plane. Maybe he is mute. I started feeling really bad. I thought about offering to switch seats with him but it was too late, we were on the incline. So I would sit back on my seat so he can still see out the window from his seat. I usually pull down the shades so I can rest or watch TV but I didn’t this time. He was so interested in the view outside I just let him enjoy it.
Side conversation, recently there was a video about an autistic guy who can sing and play music very well. His name is Kodi Lee. He is indeed an inspiration, only for overly sensitive, politically correct but mentally dumb Americans to make it into another stupid debate.
I was looking at this guy. Poor guy, in his mid-40s I am guessing mute and autistic, traveling with the other guy who doesn’t seem to care much about his sign language. He continue to fidget with the on board entertainment so I helped him, even offered him my earphones because his seat didn’t have one. He seemed really happy and watched a movie from the Kid’s Favourite list. I felt better. I was the asshole not recognising his challenges and judged him too quickly. Now I made it up by helping him.
It was cool when the food came by. He wanted orange juice but couldn’t tell the stewardess so he pointed to his shirt that was orange in colour. She understood. That was cool. He did not speak one word until we landed. He somehow got a translation app out and showed me that he was transiting to another city. So I used my limited sign language trying to explain what to do. But I saw he typed in Chinese and he listened to voice messages so he is not deaf, so I spoke in Chinese. Then….. he spoke back. Like a normal person.
What the heck! He is not autistic. The guy next to him was also just a random stranger. No wonder he didn’t care much about him. And yes he wanted to steal my window seat. And he pushed against me not because he did not understand manners or proper behaviour. He was just vengeful. He didn’t speak a word because he did not understand English. He didn’t know what to do with the TV screen because it was all in English. He wasn’t mute, he was just new to flying. Regardless I tried to help him and answered every question he had. Even showed him the way to his gate. He did not thank me or anything.
I was quick to judge him twice. Turned out my first judgment was the right one. But anyway, I felt bad to be angry at someone so quickly. I should be kind. Even to assholes.
There is another story that comes to mind and it has been a grounding story for me. This story is not mine but I put it in first person for you to understand it better.
I was at the bar and ordered some french fries. The service was really good, my fries arrived in just a minute or two. Fast food indeed. So I started eating the fries. Suddenly this guy next to me took a fry from my basket. I stared at him. He just smiled and nodded to me, and continued to eat. I thought to myself, okay one fry no problem. I can share. But how rude of him not to even ask. Maybe he is just super hungry. Let it go.
But oh no, he didn’t stop there. He came back for a second fry, then a third and fourth and continued eating. I continued to stare at him but he just smiled back and nodded. I pulled the basket closer to me to indicate “enough is enough”. I don’t want to be “rude” and tell him off, but I can’t be a complete pushover. Pulling the basket should get my message across.
It seemed to work. I continued to enjoy the remaining fries. Finally peace and quiet and I can enjoy my food. I was playing with my phone and what do you know, he starts eating my fries again! So I ate faster. If I eat them all quickly then he can’t steal anymore from me! We ate and ate until the last one. How dare he have the audacity to go for it. He took the last fry, looked at me and smiled, tore the fry in half and gave the half to me. What the heck! I was so freaking angry.
The guy left after finishing the last “half” fry. I sat there cursing at him and upset at the situation. I was so angry I was thinking what I should do until the waiter came and handed me a basket of fries. “Here you go sir, your fries”.
I sat there in shock. All this time I thought he was stealing my food, when I was the one taking his! I thought he was an asshole but turns out it was me. He did not complain, always smiling and even offered the last half to me.
Well this did not happen to me, but I heard this story but I modified it to be more dramatic and sensical. But lesson learned, don’t judge too quickly, and be kind whenever possible.