Monday, December 7, 2009

The FAT fight.

Flying, especially during the holidays, can be a big hassle. But my first trip out of Portland to see family in the Midwest was nearly perfect. And as I prepared to return to the Northwest I thought, “what could possibly go wrong?”

Turns out? A lot.

I arrived at the Detroit airport with luggage and license in hand. A US Airways employee, who we’ll call Jerome (because that’s what his name tag said), looked at my license and before I know it, I’m hearing him say: “You … license … 20 pounds lighter… back then.”


Was this guy for real? Did he really just say that?!

Here I was, carrying a backpack filled with organic food and feeling pretty good about my body.  I was even “good” about how I ate over the holiday. But this man’s comment brought me crashing down.

The scene that followed wasn’t pretty.

As I practically threw my “30-pound” suitcase at him, I hissed, “you should be careful what you say, mister.” He apologized. But it was too late. I had let him get to me. I fumed as I went through security. I fumed even more as security took away my yogurt, because we all know what kind of destruction lies inside an 8-ounce container of Greek yogurt.

I was so upset I couldn’t think straight. So I called US Airways to complain about Jerome. The lady on the other end of the phone was as appalled as I was and encouraged me to email customer relations. I quickly fired up my laptop only to find I’d have to pay $9.95 to get WiFi. Fine. I thought: I’d wait to get home to deal with the Jerome drama.

As fate would have it, Jerome was the person checking our boarding passes to get on the plane as well. I decided I’d ignore him. But as I handed him my pass, he apparently remembered me because he looked at me and said, “again, I’m very sorry.” I responded with a curt, “sir, I’ve already called US Airways.” Jerome looked away, visibly upset, and whispered, “okay.” And that was that.

But as I headed to my seat, I felt my throat constrict and tears well up. Why couldn’t I have just said, “that’s okay Jerome, we all make mistakes?” Instead I was as mean to him as he’d been to me. As I sat down, I thought about all that happened. It was so random. So out of the blue.

Until suddenly I remembered something from the night before. My sister-in-law and I had taken my nephews to the science museum for one last night of fun. When we gave the girl at the register our last name she mentioned she had gone to high school with one of my cousins who happened to be an amazing athlete in track and field. As we walked away I joked, “clearly, she wasn’t on my cousin’s track team.” It was a snide and totally unnecessary remark about this young girl’s figure ... an ugly comment about a perfectly nice girl who had done absolutely nothing wrong to me.

As I waited for the plane to take off it all started to make sense. It’s called Karma. So I thank you, Jerome, for your comment and the lesson I learned from this experience. And while flying during the holidays can sometimes be painful and annoying, it can also be incredibly enlightening.


  1. Your perfect. Don't sweat the Jeromes of the world, kid.

  2. Aaaah, thanks Kev, though you so know I'm riddled with imperfection. Yeah, in the end it was all about the Karma and watching what I say unnecessarily! :)