Art Linkletter made this title well known a long time ago. Kids continue to delight us with their innocence and candor.
You are familiar with a tug pushing the aircraft away from the jetbridge before the airplane begins taxiing under it's own power to the active runway. I was prepared to begin the Emergency PA when a child exclaimed, "Are we going to fly BACKWARD!"
While descending a small voice could be heard, "My ears are burping!"
A child can fly unaccompanied on Southwest Airline's nonstop and direct flights from age five until their 12th birthday. Thinking a little boy seemed younger than five years my friend asked, "Now HOW old are you?" His reply, "I'm four when I'm on the ground but I'm five when I'm in the air." Need I explain?
I can still see the earnest face of a five year old who said, "My mother's at Williams Air Force Base. My dad's at Luke Air Force Base. I'm a civilian!"
In Orlando, a family boarded with three-year-old twin girls and a five-year-old boy. It was obvious they had been to Disney World. The boy was seated at the window and then ignored while the parents got the little girls situated. The girls were the center of attention from boarding passengers. Feeling a little sorry for the young boy, my Flight Attendant friend asked him if he had fun at Disney World. He said he had. Then she said, "Did you see Mickey Mouse?" This brought on a torrent of tears. Trying to comfort him she asked him what was wrong. "My dad told me if I said one more 'bleeping word' about Mickey Mouse he was going to jerk these ears off my head!"
Another family came on with two young children dressed in Disney World shirts, character hats, clutching Disney stuffed characters. "Did you have a good time at Disney World?" I asked. With big eyes the "Pluto" boy replied, "How did YOU know we went there?" (If you would like the opportunity to take your own children to Disney World, check out the Disney Game at southwest.com until February 24, 2008.)
One of our Pilots asked his young son where he wanted to go to college. "I want to go where you did, dad." Dad went to Ohio State so he advised his son to look for some place he enjoyed living, maybe near water or mountains-- somewhere fun. The boy thought for a moment and asked, "Do they have a college at Disney World?"
My favorite "Pilot's child" story is this. When dad came home from flying his ten-year-old son was always waiting near the front door ready to talk and play catch. This day there was no Douglas. Dad found his wife who told him Douglas had been mouthy so she had swatted him and he was in his room. As my friend opened the door to his son's room he heard an immediate, "Mom hit me!" "Well, mom told me what happened. Were you smart-mouthing her?" Hearing an affirmative answer, Dad told Douglas how lucky they were to have mom cook for them, make a beautiful home for them, love them. "Douglas, what would we do without women?" To which the child replied, "Anything we WANT?" Smart kid!
Since we transport many children going to visit the non-custodial parent it is not unusual seeing a sad face. Sitting down next to a little girl who was obviously distressed, the Flight Attendant found out the child's cat had died. To comfort the child, the Flight Attendant said, "Well your cat is now in Heaven with God!" With a confused frown the little girl said, "What would God want with a dead cat?" See if you can come up with a good answer to that!
Picture this: A nine-year-old child is traveling alone. During the opening PA the Flight Attendant mentions that we have complimentary juice, soft drinks, and coffee. Beer, wine, and cocktails are $4.00. When it's time to take the young man's order, he is carefully counting out money. "Can I get you something?" His reply, "Well, I want one of those cocktails. I don't know if I want shrimp or fruit?"
Being a Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant is not always a laugh a minute, but there is a lot of comic relief!