So you might have thought sitting on an airplane next to twin one year olds was the worst seat on the plane. It’s not. Sitting between a crazy drug addict and twin babies is the worst seat on the plane. But we’ll get back to that.
We are in Florida visiting my in-laws. Taking 4 small boys across the country along with 4 carseats, 2 pack’n’plays, a double stroller, 2 booster seats, diapers, and all the other paraphernalia needed to maintain 4 kids, is a daunting task no matter how you manage it. We decided that Eric would drive Stephen, Adrian, and all the stuff to Florida along with the van. My mother-in-law, Sue, flew to CO to help me fly back to FL with the twins (I may be brave, but even I am not crazy enough to fly twin babies across the country solo).
The van, stuff, & boys got off without a hitch, and they enjoyed their 3 day cross country adventure with daddy. After some delays, Sue arrived in CO and we prepared to take the babies to Florida. The day started off smoothly; we packed what little was left and headed to Denver, directions to our bargain off-site parking spot in hand. BUT the directions printed from the online parking site were completely wrong and incomprehensible. After getting lost briefly, we arrived at the airport never having found our pre-paid parking spot. If we wanted to make the flight, we had no option but to pay double for parking at the airport and abandon our spot somewhere that the internet promised was only “minutes away.”
Check in, security, and boarding went relatively smoothly, though of course cumbersome with two babies and a double stroller in tow. We got lots of stares and comments from other people as we made our way through the airport with (extremely cute) identical twins. We arrived at the gate just as the plane began boarding and discovered the next hitch: Sue and I would not be able to sit next to each other. There are 4 oxygen masks per side of the plane, so there can only be one lap infant per side so there are enough oxygen masks to go around. (this makes sense, because you know how many times you’ve need your oxygen mask while flying…) Sue was seated across the aisle from me, which meant that whichever baby she held was agonizingly close to mommy, but not with mommy, and therefore cried pitifully.
I was beginning to feel sorry for the kind man next to me before the plane even took off. And then….and then…the last person boarded. She headed for our row. Yes, she was taking the window seat. Will, my seatmate, and I dutifully stood up, scootched out of the row, and let the newcomer in.
(Let me pause here to explain that this was an “economy” plane. AKA the smallest plane ever. It was designed for people my size and smaller. I am 5’3” and petite. We were elbow to elbow, and you couldn’t walk down the aisle without bumping people.)
So in came this woman, muttering and cursing, with a giant wheelie-frame backpack she was trying futilely to shove under the seat. She kept up a constant stream of complaining and cursing as she tried to kick her bag into submission. Stewardess after stewardess came by to ask if she wanted to put the bag in the overhead compartment, to which she retorted, “No I can’t do that! I can’t trust nobody! My laptop is in here! I don’t trust nobody!” Their reminders that her bag needed to fit COMPLETELY under the seat in front of her were met with “I know I know! Just leave me alone and stop bothering me! I am never getting on an f***ing plane again! !&$*#&!! !&#*@&#*!! @$%#@**!!”
The smiling stewardesses were replaced by a scowling security officer threatening to remove her from the plane if she couldn’t be calm and comply with the flight crew’s orders. She begged to stay and promised to be good and finally allowed him to put her bag in the overhead compartment. My seatmate, Will, and I again filed out to make way for the bag. No sooner had the guard left than she began cursing again and complaining about how she now had nothing to do because all her things were in the overhead compartment. A stewardess offered to get her book out for her, but the bag was padlocked (because she couldn’t trust nobody)…things were breaking down again…the security officer returned and told her he could escort her off the plane, or the police could. My seatmate, Will, and I, again filed out to let her off the plane.
She stormed out as the plane burst into applause, and my seatmate told Will, “That’s why you don’t do drugs, kid.”
I laughed. “I was feeling so sorry for you! This poor man, trapped between two babies and a crazy lady!”
He chuckled. “I was worried, too! But I truly don’t mind the babies. I love kids, and just let me know if there is anything I can do to help you. I’m happy to hold a baby or whatever you need.”
We filed out again to make room for the exiled woman’s replacement, who also got a round of applause as he boarded.
Once the flight took off, things went relatively smoothly. The babies were moderately cooperative and moderately fussy, just the behavior you’d expect from two one year olds cooped up for 4 hours. 95% of the people on the plane were kind, helpful, and understanding. A few glared at us a lot. One huffed and puffed and shook his head at every baby noise (which turned out to be a lot of huffing and puffing), and another in front of me remarked quite loudly that he couldn’t “wait to get the h**l off this plane, I can’t take it any more!” I felt terribly sorry for him sitting and reading his book, snacking as he watched me juggle screaming babies.
But let’s not focus on the few nasty people. Let’s focus on my seatmate, Eddie, who helped with the baby juggling, walked Will around, and bounced him at the back of the plane for an hour, finally putting him to sleep. And for another mom who offered me her baby’s snacks when I couldn’t get Reid to stop screaming. And the lady who tickled Reid’s toes to make him laugh. And of course my wonderful mother in law who flew all the way to Colorado just to turn around and fly back again with 2 babies. (although after last night, I don’t think she’ll make that
mistake offer again!!)
When we landed, I offered Eddie a Starbucks gift card I had in my wallet, but he refused it, saying that it was his pleasure and he likes holding babies. Another woman behind me offered him a kindle gift card she had as well to thank him for his kindness to me! But he would not take it. So in lieu, I will say on my blog and in my prayers, God bless you, Eddie! You were the shining star on a dark flight!