I think of it as “anti-kid” behavior: the eye-rolls when our child speaks above a whisper at the grocery store, the exasperated sighs when we sit within four seats of a businessman at the airport. And sometimes it isn’t so subtle. A friend of mine was recently physically threatened by a man because he thought her children were being too loud. All I can do is shake my head. It’s one crazy world we live in.
And despite those not-so-friendly encounters, I can’t help but think about the kind, helpful people we’ve met along the way.
We were flying Southwest, which has an open seating policy. My daughter, husband, and I were among the first to board the plane, and chose three seats together toward the back. My daughter was 2-years-old at the time (in other words, perfect seat-kicking age.) We tried our best to prevent her from kicking the back of the seat in front of her, but it happened at least a couple times per flight despite our efforts.
A middle-aged woman sat in the seat right in front of our toddler, passing up numerous other seating options. I wondered why she chose that seat. She could have sat rows away, and people like her–adults travelling alone–usually sit as far from us as possible.
Sure enough, our child kicked the seat once, twice, three times during the two hour flight. We reminded her each time: “Do not kick the seat.” As we deboarded the plane, I apologized to our fellow traveller.
“Oh, don’t worry about it! That’s why I sat there. I figured it would be better for me to sit there instead of some grump.”
She said this without an ounce of judgement or sarcasm. A stranger inconvenienced herself in order to save us and another passenger from frustration.
Maybe people aren’t so bad afterall.