I adore airplanes. And Skymalls. I have since I was a kid.
But, I’m also the girl who sits next to you on the plane, makes eye contact, and wants to chat.
Now, I fully understand and respect folks who don’t want to chat on a plane or in an airport, but through the years I’ve met some very interesting people.
Like the time I sat in the middle of the University of Texas Men’s Track & Field Team and played Scrabble. Ahem…I won.
Or the time a lady was taking a little too much room. But instead of being mean, I was sneaky and took a picture so I could eventually blog about it.
Haha! Take that, rude lady who will never ever read this!
Or the time I was stuck on a runway for a few hours and a nice lady shared M&Ms with me because I hadn’t eaten all day.
Or the time I sat next to a man who I could have sworn was a terrorist because he used the bathroom five times and used his phone during the whole flight.
Or the grandpa who chatted with me about World War II and proudly showed me photos of his grandchildren (specifically his single grandson) for an hour. I love old people
I recently had a quick flight and met a young man who was on his way to a skateboarding camp. There were many high school boys on the plane headed to the same camp but they cursed often and smelt like gym socks and Axe body spray. But the young man sitting next to me by the window was very different.
Window-Seat Occupant (WSO): “I hate flying.”
Me (put down my book): “Do you?”
WSO: “Yeah. I’ve flown a lot, but I just hate it. I don’t even like roller coasters.”
Me: “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
I begin reading my book again–It’s odd for me to not chat, but I really like my book and I’m almost done. So I choose to keep reading.
The plane begins to move away from the terminal.
WSO: “Oh geez…oh geez.” *pulls down the window shade, grips armrests*
At this point, I realize this kid is terrified. I put my book in the back seat pocket and turn to him in attempt to get his mind off of flying.
Me: “You’re not going to throw up on me, are you?”
WSO: *laughs* “Oh no…at least I hope not.” And his face relaxed.
We begin chatting and I find that he is from South Carolina, is 14 years-old, and loves skating, making movies, and God. And despite his scary skate boarding hobby, he hates heights. Before taking off, one of the foul-mouthed teenagers shouted an expletive. WSO leaned over and assured me that “not all skaters act like idiots and use profanity.” This young man completely impressed me. And he didn’t smell like a teenager.
I kept him in conversation as we flipped through a Skymall and talked about God. WSO had already been on five mission trips. Some in America, others in Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, and some in Europe.
WSO is a “street skater” and has a skate park built in his backyard. Literally. He also talked about how he wanted to be a “jerk” (which I think means to be a professional skater) so he was totally ”stoked” for his second year at camp. He hoped he wasn’t in “cabin full of posers” or rude yankees.
WSO: “..Last year everyone in my cabin was from New York. I was the only one from the South.”
Me: “There’s nothing wrong with that. I like being Southern.”
WSO: “Oh, me too. My friends at home call me a Southern Belle because I open doors and say ‘yes ma’am’.”
Me *I hold back a chuckle*: “…Umm…I think Southern Belles are female. I bet you’re a Southern gentleman....”
WSO *eyes wide*: “Wait, what?!? Awww man…”
Me *I laugh*: “Just say Southern gentleman from now on.”
Anyways, our convo was literally one of the best I’ve had in a while. WSO didn’t puke and I never got his name. But I hope he stays the way he is forever–So nice, so genuine, so friendly, and so passionate about Christ.
Getting off the plane we exchanged goodbyes.
WSO: “Hey..it was great meeting you. Good luck with everything.”
Me: “Have fun at your camp. Make good decisions….and don’t break any bones. And if you do, at least make it into a cool story.”