On this particular day, my friend Linda was the greeter. (I was in the galley setting up so I was not the designated one taking the specials to their seats.) Since we had a lot of specials, and she was already busy briefing three unaccompanied minors, she called me up to help her.
There was a very tall, well-dressed elderly gentleman in a wheelchair. I approached him, introduced myself, and asked if there was any way he could walk at all, maybe just a little bit, so I could guide him to his seat.
“Of course I can!” he replied gruffly. Then he proceeded to stand up.
Obviously, he was fine. Why was he on Linda’s list of specials? He clearly did not need assistance.
But, I was a professional, and Linda had given this passenger to me for a reason. I would smile and help him even if it seemed like he was okay on his own.
“Sir, let me carry your small tote bag for you. Here, let me see what seat number on your ticket. Okay, 32 A. Fantastic! A window seat! I love window seats. All right. Your seat is all the way in the back. Let’s go.”
I took hold of his arm gently, and steered him in front of me in the aisle toward his seat. I was looking at the back of his very tall head.
Now, this specific aircraft was a 757, which is a narrow body (only one aisle). There were TV screens attached to the ceiling all the way from the front of the plane to the back. Due to the age of this plane, the bulky TV screens were permanently affixed in their positions and were not actually designed to retract. In order to clear the TV screens if you were very even of normal height, you would have to duck.
Which this passenger did not.
Oops! Poor guy. He was not paying attention. Probably he was just so excited to be traveling.
“Sir, are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” he mumbled.
“Good,” I started, “because there is another …”
How could this guy’s family even let him travel alone? He was not bright enough to even avoid a giant TV screen staring him in the face.
This happened three more times.
I finally got him situated and showed him how his seatbelt worked and pointed out the nearest emergency exits for him to use.
“See? You are right by the back galley. The door is right back there. Also, here is the flight attendant call-light if you would like some help with anything.”
“Thank you for helping me with him,” Linda said, “he seemed really nice.”
Before I had a chance to tell her about all the TV screens, the gate agent walked up.
“Are you ladies ready to board the rest of the passengers now?” he asked.
“Sure,” I replied.
Just then, the flight attendant call-light went off. Linda turned to me, then pointed toward seat 32 A at the very back of the plane.
“MOV, I think that’s your passenger calling, the nice gentleman you just helped?” she said, “You know ... the blind one.”