A little old lady's courage | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A little old lady's courage

There is a story we like to tell about my late grandmother and her dealings with a rude person of a younger generation. As she got out of her car in a parking lot one day, she inadvertantly knocked the side mirror of the car next to her. Unfortunately, it was occupied by a young man who yelled at her to "watch it, old lady!"

In response, my feisty grandmother turned around and gave his side mirror several more whacks, looked at him pointedly and walked away. I wish I had been there to see it, but it was almost as good just to hear her retell it.

I love how as we get older, we start to stop worrying so much about what people around us think. It is rather unfortunate that we don't learn to do this a lot earlier in life. Take me, for example--since I am still relatively young, I concern myself much more than I should about what the perfect stranger sitting in front of me on the airplane will do to me if I tell him what I really think about him.

Take the guy who was sitting in front of my mom and me on the plane today. He was a short, squat, Sicilian-looking guy in a dark suit (my mom swears he was Mafia) and he wasn't a very happy person. I suppose he might have been pleasant enough had all gone as it should, but since things beyond anyone's control (like weather) caused our plane to be grounded in Green Bay and then further delayed upon landing in Chicago, he decided to show us all his true colors.

Once we finally landed in Chicago, every passenger on board whipped out a phone to call someone who could get online and look up connecting flight information. I certainly did. This man in front of me did the same. Only he felt the need to speak into his cell phone loudly enough for everyone on the plane to hear. Worse, he thought it would be a great idea to also use every naughty word he could think of ten times each and twenty if the word started with the letter "F."

My mom and I just kind of raised our eyebrows at each other, but said nothing. By now, we had been taxi-ing for about 20 minutes. (I had no idea a plane could taxi for so long! I think we may have taxied for longer than our entire flight had been.) And then, we stopped moving and sat on the tarmac because another plane was blocking our gate since we were more than an hour late. Mr. Mafia was having a conniption fit by now, punctuated with so much vulgarity that my ears were bleeding.

We had a wonderful pilot who explained every delay and the reasons for it in detail. Yet here is this guy in front of me screaming at the captain wanting to know what could be so important that he was missing his next flight for it. When we finally got to a gate and could get off the plane, he only continued with his show. Because I can only assume that that was what he was doing at this point--putting on a show for the rest of us. Showing the rest of us, who were in the same boat (er, plane) as he was, just how manly and mad he could get. Perhaps we should have followed suit and put on our own shows in equal proportions? Yes, let's all storm the flight deck and tell that pilot just what we think about his listening to control when they grounded him and not flying through the lightning storm anyway just so we could all make our connections. Of course! Wouldn't that have made everything all better?

I digress.

Just as I was about to say something to him (actually, I may never have mustered up the courage because he was really kind of scary--Mafia, you know) a little old lady in front of him turned around and said, "Don't you take the name of my Savior in vain!"

While he didn't like what she said, and it certainly didn't stop his spewing of swear words, it definitely stopped me in my tracks and made me think. That cute little lady wasn't one bit afraid of the (very scary!) guy and she dared to say what many of us in that plane probably wanted to say.

I hope that I can become a little old lady sooner rather than later.

Or at least muster up the courage to act like one.

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You may have guessed that I am in an airport hotel writing this, as we missed our connection to SLC in Chicago. Fun times.

26 comments :

  1. Yep, he was mafia and and it was unbelieveable. But what a wonderful pilot, flight attendant, and little old lady!!

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  2. I will pay so much more for direct flights, if I can. I freak out when I miss a flight.

    GOod luck!

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  3. I am so, so sorry. It is awful to deal with vulgar, selfish people. Especially when you are missing your flight. I wish I still lived in Chicago, and could say, "come to my house, and I will make you guacamole and salsa" or something equally yummy. Good luck getting home - I'm glad your mom is with you, at least! And I'm glad, too, that the cute old lady stuck to her guns. I'm way too timid, too.

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  4. I wish I could say what I thought too. Sigh.

    I'm sorry you are at a hotel. I hope you get home safely tomorrow!

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  5. Dude, there must be a ninety year old woman in my body because there's no way I could have bitten my tongue. I'm pretty polite when I confront stuff like that, I think, but I can't take that kind of thing.


    Wait, let me amend that. If my kids were with me, I would have for sure said something. Me, by myself? Hm. Maybe not.

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  6. I would have said something to him for sure. I think that I was born without a filter.

    I hope that you get a flight out and are able to get home soon!!

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  7. I have a hard time in those situations. I really need to learn how to stand-up for my guns.
    Or something like that.
    I hope you're on a plane home while I type this.

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  8. Man, I LOVE old ladies! Less inhibition. More wisdom. My parents are out visiting, and I walked them down the street to meet one of my best friends in my ward. Harriet, who is 92.

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  9. I have noticed as I become older I care less about what people think and tend to speak my mind more often. Good for the little old lady and your grandma too! (o:

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  10. That's the woman I WANT to be, but I feel so far away from it sometimes. Good for her.

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  11. That's a great story. Not only does it show how useless screaming and complaining are, but I really do admire that old lady. I hope to have her gumption when I grow up!

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  12. That's a great story!! That story made me think of the oldest lady I know( Grammy Venture) I can see her doing the same thing. I love it!!! Man I really like that story.

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  13. That's a great story!! That story made me think of the oldest lady I know( Grammy Venture) I can see her doing the same thing. I love it!!! Man I really like that story.

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  14. It only takes one person to lead a group to victory over the ignorant right? Good for that "mature" woman in the plane! I hope you get home O.K. and don't have to deal with someone like that again!

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  15. Missed flights are the worst!! I'm sorry.

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  16. Wow,that's amazing. Some people are just ridiculous. Unfortunately that man will never realize how immature his actions were. I'm sure everyone else was just as frustrated, but what can you do? I too wonder if I would have had the courage to say anything. Probably not. But I can always wonder!

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  17. I'm sorry you missed your flight, but not at all sorry you got to witness that old lady displaying impressive courage. Makes me want to be old, too. :)

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  18. I've encountered guys like that before, although usually they were just harmless and whiny, rather than scary! Don't they realize that if they're the only one loudly complaining and swearing, they're not only ruining everyone else's day, but they're also the biggest baby on the plane?! I'm sorry you had to go through that!

    All the best of luck with your home search, even if you didn't find something this time. You will—just have patience.

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  19. Oh I just love that when everyone's in the same boat and one person just can't believe it could happen to HIM and has to go on and on about it. Silly.

    I hope you are actually able to enjoy your hotel stay. I love a good hotel stay. Without kids would be even better, even if it meant my plans were ruined. . .

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  20. i think airports and airplanes bring out the worst in people. i'm glad i don't have to work in one.

    i hope the rest of your travels are done in safety.

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  21. Haha! I LOVE little old ladies! They aren't afraid of anything or anyone. It makes me wonder if I'll ever be a little old lady, cuz I'm afraid of everyone! ;-P

    Anyway, sorry you had to endure so much vulgarity on the plane. It just makes a difficult journey worse. Hope the rest of your travel time goes better.

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  22. LOL I love that! Sometimes wisdom gives us courage. How wonderful this world would be if we spoke up more in defense of the Lord and Heavenly Father!

    Good luck in Michigan, did you find anything?

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  23. People like that guy just make everyone so uncomfortable. Blah. Yay for old ladies with courage!

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  24. This post brought to my mind this scripture from D&C 3:7
    "For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God."

    It's really hard sometimes, but we should never be afraid or ashamed to speak up for what is right, especially when someone is taking the name of our Lord in vain.

    How many children were on that flight, I wonder, being subjected to his language. Sad to think that there once was a time when that kind of language would never be used in the presence of women and children.

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  25. You know, it's interesting how so many of us raised with manners are afraid to do that even though the person who's being rude is forcing their behavior on us--like smoking for example. It makes me so angry when someone comes to a playground and smokes. Seriously! A playground? But, do I say anything? No, but I sure do think nasty things.
    Good for that old lady.

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  26. I always feel sort of sorry for people like that. I think travel delays bring out the worst in everyone, especially if they're missing something really important to them because of the delay) but to be that out of control over yourself out in public like that just seems so sad. I realize that wasn't where you were headed with this, but that's always the first thing I think. :-) Anyway, hope your trip's back on schedule - looks like it is from the above post.

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