There is always a lot happening in the jetway during Passenger Boarding and my recent HOU-SAT flight was no exception.
I like to stand near the main cabin door to say hello to our Passengers, answer their questions, and welcome them aboard. During this particular flight, the quiet of the jetway was shattered by a high-pitched scream from a small boy who was not at all happy about getting on the airplane. Mom was frazzled, carrying about three bags over her shoulders and holding another, while Dad was trying to convince his five-year-old son, Alex, that everything would be fine.
Alex was obviously not convinced.
This was not your every day scream, it was a wail of indescribable intensity and pitch. This was a scream of abject fear that only a child who felt that he was in mortal danger could muster up. A scream that would give one chills.
I went out in the jetway to see if I could help the Dad and help to calm Alex. He seemed a little better when his Dad explained that I would be their pilot to SAT. His Dad told me that their flight to HOU had been very turbulent, and Alex didn't like it at all and was very scared to fly now. I followed Alex and his Dad to the row where Mom had picked out three seats. Alex continued his screaming. Boarding Passengers knew they were in for a rough trip if Alex couldn't be calmed down, and there were many "looks" in the direction of the family.
I asked Alex if he would like to come to the cockpit, and a women one row in front of him said, "Please take him!"
Alex absolutely loved the flight deck with all the bells, whistles, lights, and noises. He asked me if we could fly "very low" and as he said this he moved his little hand like an airplane flying over the top of the seat cushion. I assured him we would fly low, assuming that he thought if we flew low it would be a nice ride to San Antonio. By this time Alex and I were buds and after I took his picture sitting in my seat, I carried him back to his folks. He had his arm around my neck and the screaming had stopped, as had his tears. Alex was a happy little boy and so were the rest of my Passengers. The applause from the cabin made Alex smile, and we all enjoyed his flight home.