Elderly Man Refuses To Let Woman Board Flight Until She Realizes Who He Really Is


Seeing Her Again

He didn’t think he’d ever see her again. Sixty years had passed since he last laid his eyes on her. With his heart pounding, he hurried down the airplane boarding tunnel.

He’d lost her once, and it had left him a husk of his former self. There was no way he’d repeat that mistake again.

Her Smell


But for John Erickson, this was supposed to be a routine flight from Miami to Los Angeles. He’d hoped to see his last born, Tommy, who’d just had a kid.

But his entire life had flashed before him the moment she crossed his view. His nose had picked up on her scent – sweet lavender, the same one she’d loved wearing all those decades ago. He knew he’d die if he didn’t try and stop her.

Butterflies In His Stomach


But how could he approach her when the last time they had been in each other’s view, the late John F. Kennedy had been the American president?

Butterflies flocked his stomach as his breath ran short. His eyes blurred with tears of anticipation as he finally confirmed her identity. “Mildred,” he whispered under his breath, taken aback by this blast from the past.

In The Fifties


When John met Mildred Meyers, he’d only been seventeen years old. The year was 1959, and the Tampa native was in high school.

He’d been hearing about the new girl for a while, about how much of a beauty she was, and he wanted, more than anything, to meet her. He had no idea how much pain she’d bring into his life.

His High School Days


The seventeen-year-old had been a senior then, with his entire life ahead of him. He’d never had a girlfriend before and couldn’t even picture himself talking to a girl.

But the moment Mildred walked into his class, he knew he had to talk to her. But one glaring problem would threaten to ruin a good thing before it even started.

He Doesn’t Know How


John had rarely interacted with women. Coming from a family of primarily males, his mom and grandma were the only women in his life.

He’d always fumbled with words when trying to strike up a conversation with a girl. It didn’t matter whether he was trying to ask them for a pencil or a coffee date. He’d consistently failed.

She’s Different


But with Mildred, everything seemed different. She seemed easy to talk to, always smiling and engaging those around her with bright, hopeful eyes.

After lengthy discussions with his friends, a timid John finally got the courage to approach her. He could never have guessed the type of reaction she’d give him.

Saying Hi


Tapping her shoulder with a shaky hand, John used everything within him to smile and say two words, “Good morning.” Mildred turned to him, brows furrowed, and greeted him back.

Her large blue eyes studied him, but not antagonistically. There was something peaceful about them, something warm that tugged at John’s chest. All of a sudden, the worry that had flattened him evaporated.

Becoming Friends


The two started talking that day, and even though John felt strongly that Mildred was out of his league, he continued working on their friendship.

She was the perfect friend, always interested in his takes and interests, always eager to spend time with him. She made him laugh, think of, and crave a future with her. But it would only be a matter of time before everything took a drastic turn.

A Cheerleader


The changes started manifesting when Mildred shared some good news with John. She’d just auditioned for the school cheerleaders and had been accepted.

Although John was happy for her and even took her out for some root beer at the local Top Hat restaurant, he knew what would follow. Would he lose her this early in their friendship?

Not Popular


John was by no means a popular student. He rarely got noticed by the cool kids or got invited to hang out with them after school. He didn’t sit at their tables during lunch or near them at football games.

He knew they would snatch Mildred from him, absorbing her into their soulless ranks. Would she even notice him after she became one of them?

Should He Tell Her?


John didn’t know. He wondered if he should bring up his worries with Mildred. He’d been falling in love with her day by day and needed her to know that.

But he had never been good at expressing how he felt. What would his friends say when they found out he’d opened up to Mildred like this?

Keep It Locked


As such, John decided to keep his feelings locked deep within his heart. He watched as the popular kids welcomed the beautiful Mildred into their fold, slowly morphing who she was.

John hated it. It was even worse for him because there was nothing he could do about it. But just when things were at their bleakest, a ray of sunshine shone on him.

The Field


The ray came in the name of Mildred. It had been a wonderful afternoon a few days into summer break when she approached John. He’d been seated alone on the football bleachers.

“Hello, stranger,” she smiled at him, dressed in her full cheerleader outfit, pompoms included. John’s brows drew up, and his heart melted within him.



The way the late afternoon sun bounced off her skin and blue eyes was unlike anything he’d ever seen. Her scent, a sweet and intoxicating lavender, powered through him.

“Hello,” he stammered. He’d never beheld someone as beautiful as the girl before him. He’d never heard a sweeter voice or laugh. He’d never been as lost in someone’s eyes as in hers. He should have known that all this would end in tears.

She Noticed


“You’ve been avoiding me,” Mildred said, and John had to stifle a gasp. He’d not talked to her for a mere two weeks, and although it had been the worst for him, he’d thought it was for the best.

He didn’t stop to think that he might be hurting her by avoiding her this much. He searched for words to express himself but was rendered speechless by how Mildred looked at him.



John had never witnessed a look of betrayal before. What he saw left endless steaming crevices on the surface of his heart, an ache so painful he clutched at his chest.

Mildred’s eyes were growing wet by the second, and John didn’t know what to do. How could he hurt her this way when he claimed to have strong feelings for her? He had no clue that she would get back at him in the worst way possible.

Something Special


“I’m sorry,” he whispered, needing to wrap his arms around her and never let go. “I am very sorry, Mildred.” But her tears wouldn’t stop flowing, and she wouldn’t stop sobbing and sniffling.

“I thought we had something… special,” she said. It was then that John realized he’d missed something crucial in their friendship.

Go To Her


John had never considered that Mildred might have felt the same way he did. He couldn’t fathom a world where someone like her would fall in love with someone like him.

He hurried to her, scooping and squeezing her tight in his arms. He knew she felt the same way when she succumbed to his hold, knowing she’d be safe with him. He was sure nothing in this world would ever separate them.

Finishing High School


The two love birds dated through their senior year. They even went to prom, an unforgettable night among John’s favorites.

As college came, the two only lived an hour away from each other. Their relationship blossomed into something more, with John planning to propose to Mildred as soon as he saw her during the holidays.

He’ll Marry Her


John had been twenty-one when he decided to get down on one knee and ask Mildred to be his. He’d told his folks about it, and his mom, proud as ever, had given him the same ring his dad used to propose to her.

His dad gave him his car, a prized Chevrolet El Camino he rarely took out of the garage. “Go get her,” he said while throwing the keys at him. But nothing good would come out of this.

Asking For Her Hand


A hopeful John drove for an hour, eager to surprise the love of his life. But before he could do so, he needed to pass by her dad’s place of work to ask him for her hand.

As far as John saw it, this was the right thing to do. He entered the man’s office, humble yet courageous, eager to do the right thing. But his heart would be more than heartbroken that afternoon.



Mildred’s dad said, “No.” But there was no malice in his voice, no hostility in the way he talked to John. He explained that he’d been arranging to move his family to Los Angeles for the past year because of a job promotion he had lined up.

“I can’t leave her behind,” he said. “And I know you can’t move to Los Angeles, as young as you are.” John was heartbroken.

Change His Mind


He tried everything he could to change the man’s mind, even bringing his parents to help. But Mildred’s dad wouldn’t budge. He apologized over a hundred times, even acknowledging that John was a good man.

He asked if he would be willing to relocate for Mildred, and of course, John agreed. He’d do anything for her. But his parents felt differently.

His Parents


John’s parents wouldn’t let their son cross the country for a girl. What made Mildred so special that she’d warrant John moving to Los Angeles? Why couldn’t she stay in Tampa, where John was?

An argument with no end in sight was born. On one side were John’s parents, and on the other were Mildred’s. Seeing that no side would let up, John did the only thing he could.

Saying Goodbye


He retracted his plans to propose, choosing, through grueling pain, to let the love of his life go. Their parents forbade them from keeping in touch after Mildred’s family moved to California. Soon, everything fizzled into nonexistence.

It was a hurtful year when John said goodbye. “1963,” he’d always lament when he was alone. Even though he ended up marrying and having kids and grandkids, he never quite experienced the same kind of love he had with his Mildred. But that would change soon enough.

Six Decades


A staggering sixty years had passed since the two said their goodbyes. John, now eighty-one, was flying to Los Angeles to welcome his lastborn’s firstborn son. Over the decades, he’d been to California several times and had searched for Mildred. But his search had always come back empty.

Today he was walking up the terminal when the scent of sweet lavender wafted into his nostrils. The scent had his eyes dragging close as memories long lost came flashing back.

His surroundings changed from the tech-heavy 2023 airport he was so used to, to the once-beautiful 1960s landscape he’d fallen in love with. But if he were smart, he would have opened his eyes soon.

Still Beautiful


The scent got stronger, coaxing John’s eyes to open. And that’s when he saw her. She was dressed in a beautiful yellow sundress, with glasses and her hair loose. Although the decades showed on her skin, she was still as beautiful as ever.

A flustered John rubbed his eyes as he came to a stop. “Mildred,” he whispered. Was this truly her, or was his mind playing tricks on him?

A Torrent Of Emotion


“Mil-Mildred?” he called out, and the lady stopped, turning around. “Mildred,” he repeated, a torrent of emotion falling on him like a rogue wave. “My God. It’s you.” “John?” she called, and her voice made him stumble.

Although richer, thanks to her advanced years, it was still as sweet and enthralling as John remembered it. “Yes,” he said, trembling in place. Mildred rushed to him.

It really is you!


The two embraced in a heartfelt hug, holding tight as passengers across the terminal looked at them in surprise. “It really is you!” Mildred exclaimed as she touched John all over, seemingly disbelieving that he was here with her. “It’s me,” John said. His eyes couldn’t stop tearing.

“I have spent years searching for you,” Mildred whimpered. “Oh, John.” Just then, a little girl appeared behind her, a lollipop in her hand as she tugged on Mildred’s dress. “Memaw, who’s this man?”

Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.