Before he could stop himself, the words were out. The woman had been harassing him for a while now, refusing to let him board his plane. He’d had enough.
The words hit her like a ton of bricks and she recoiled, scandalized. But how dare she act so indignant? He’d only said what was on everyone’s mind. But how had this escalated so quickly?
Trying to board a plane can sometimes be the most nerve-racking and stressful experience for a lot of people. With long queues, missing luggage, and security checkpoints, there’s always plenty of opportunity for something to go terribly wrong. This can often have people wanting to cry or shout in frustration.
Emmit knew this more than most but there was one problem, she was quite entitled and stuck up. She would see to it that she’d ruin his day.
She Had It Out For Him
Emmit was flying to the Dominican Republic, he planned to go there for his birthday so he could celebrate it with his family.
But little did he know that she was watching him the entire time. She’d make sure he didn’t get on the flight.
He’d Worked Hard For It
Emmit hummed and tapped his feet as he waited in line. Life was good. He had made something of himself, and now he was reaping the rewards. His hard work as a music executive meant that he worked long hours, but at this moment it all seemed worth it. He couldn’t wait to kick back and enjoy some much needed R&R.
Emmit had no idea that someone was about to try and take it all away.
A Voice From Behind
He watched the line shuffle forward and the anticipation of boarding his flight was almost too much to bear. But then he heard a high-pitched voice coming from behind him and felt someone trying to push past. “Excuse me… Excuse me…” the whining voice continued.
Emmit turned to find out what this woman could possibly want, not realizing that he’d just entered the confrontation of his life.
A Condescending Gaze
The woman blatantly gave Emmit a once-over, slowly and deliberately looking him up and down and taking everything in. In her mind, he obviously wasn’t meant to be here, in the same line as her.
She pointed her chin at the sign that indicated that the line was reserved for first-class flyers. Her mouth was almost a sneer as she spat out the puzzling words. Emmit was mystified.
“I believe you may be in the wrong place,” the woman sneered. But before Emmit could correct her and explain that he was indeed flying first-class, she told him to get out of line. Then she tried to get in front of him by rudely yelling: “Let us through.”
Emmit tried to remain calm and diffuse the situation. Was there something wrong with the woman?
He looked at the woman, puzzled. He calmly explained that yes, he was meant to be in this line. But she insisted: “I believe you may be in the wrong place, you need to let us through. This line is for priority booking.” She didn’t even try to hide the condescending tone in her voice.
Emmit tried to reason with her. “Priority meaning first-class, correct?” But still, the woman wouldn’t let it go. But he would understand what she was really trying to say soon enough.
Keeping The Peace
“Yes,” the woman snapped, “now excuse me. They will call y’all after we board.” Emmit’s confusion was growing rapidly. Why was this woman so sure that he was waiting in the wrong line? And why had she singled him out?
Emmit tried to remain calm as best he could but now, he was beginning to get annoyed.
Unwilling to take his word as evidence, Emmt pulled out his ticket from his wallet and proceeded to show the woman that he was exactly where he was meant to be.
He didn’t owe this woman anything, but Emmit thought that it would put an end to the annoying altercation. He was wrong.
The woman looked scandalized. Her face turned down into an unfriendly frown and she said something loudly to her friends. She said it deliberately loud enough for Emmit to hear.
“He must be military or something,” she moaned, passive-aggressively. “But we paid for our seats so he still should have to wait”. Emmit’s fist clenched.
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Not wanting to cause a scene in the airport, he mentally tried to think of excuses for her behavior.
She obviously had assumed that he couldn’t afford a first-class ticket. As if he wasn’t worthy of flying first-class. Was she really implying what he thought she was?
By now, Emmit had a good idea as to exactly what it was that the woman was trying to say. But he didn’t want to believe that she was judging him because of his skin color. In this day and age, there was a woman who thought he was a second-class citizen. He couldn’t believe it.
In fact, he refused to believe it but in time he would have no choice but to confront this obnoxious woman.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that this woman was an unsavoury character, he didn’t want to draw any rash conclusions.
He began to second-guess himself. Perhaps the woman hadn’t meant to come across that way. But the more he mulled over her snide comment, the more incredulous he became.
Just Plain Rude?
He gently explained that he had been waiting in line first and that he wasn’t going to move. She would just have to wait like everyone else.
Could it be that he was underdressed for the flight? He didn’t think so. And looking at the rude woman’s clothes, she didn’t look like she was particularly well-dressed, either. Things were about to get heated.
He didn’t want to reach the conclusion that he did, but he couldn’t avoid the issue any longer. And it was his response that had the whole room clapping.
The woman stared at him in shock. Judging by her reaction, it looked like it had been a while since someone had given her a taste of her own medicine and a decent reality check.
Who Did She Think She Was?
Emmit turned back to the audacious woman and retorted: “Nope, too big to be in anybody’s military.” In fact, it was because of Emmit’s large stature that he had booked a first-class ticket in the first place.
Only a first-class seat would give him the space he needed to fly comfortably. She had no idea who he was.
With his thoughts racing a-mile-a-minute, Emmit knew even before the retort had left his mouth that it wouldn’t be enough to put the woman in her place. Who was she to challenge him about his right to be there?
Now, it was time to go full-whammy. He was about to clear up any misunderstandings between them.
The Elephant In The Room
Besides, servicemen and women serving in the military aren’t given first-class seats for free, either. Why was this sour woman trying to rationalize how he, an African-American man, could afford to fly first class? And what business was it of hers anyway?
By now, bystanders began to gather around, lured by their radiating tension.
People gathered around. Some were rubbernecking to see what the commotion was about, and others wanted a piece of the action. Emmit wouldn’t disappoint them. Something inside him snapped.
He was done with playing Mr. Nice Guy. If he wanted to, he could make a few calls and show this miserable woman just how out of line she was.
Putting Her In Her Place
Emmit turned back to the entitled woman, and what he said to her next had the entire crowd clapping. The woman needed to be taken down a peg, and he was going to be the one to do it.
Even though Emmit was non-confrontational by nature, he needed to stand up for himself. He shot a remark at her and she looked like she had been struck in the face by his words. Her eyes widened in disbelief as she recoiled in horror.
Calling Her Out
Emmit had told the audacious and judgemental woman that no, he wasn’t in the military. He was just an African-American man with money. Only, the words he chose to use contained a slur to really drive the point home.
The crowd exploded with cheers and applause, delighted by Emmit’s witty retort and loving the woman’s public comeuppance. But the story wasn’t over yet.
Taking A Stand
What Emmit had done was commended by all who witnessed it – in their eyes, he had taken a firm stand against intolerance. The woman had clearly deserved it. He shared the story on Facebook, but he only expected his friends to see it.
Little did he know, the situation was about to be turned on its head. Soon, he’d have to retract what he’d said.
Within just two days, Emmit’s post had been shared over 250,000 times. Now, it has been shared by over 300,000 people. Hundreds of comments poured in, praising Emmit’s response to the woman’s inappropriate behavior. “Never judge a book by its cover,” one admirer wrote.
“She is so ignorant it makes no sense that people like her still exist. Enjoy yourself, you handled it well.” But soon, Emmit would regret everything.
Not What He Wanted
By the time Emmit had arrived at his destination, the post had gone viral. He couldn’t believe how many times it had been shared, and how many people had commented on his story. So many people from all over the world commended his actions.
But instead of being thrilled about the publicity, Emmit was dismayed.
All The Wrong Reasons
Emmit believed that his post had gone viral for all the wrong reasons. “This racist stuff is definitely an issue but this is not the solution to that issue,” he wrote. He had had time to think carefully about what had happened while he was on his flight.
But he knew just what he had to do about it.
“It brings me no joy waking up in paradise,” he wrote. On his 37th birthday – the day he was meant to be celebrating – he had found out he had caused another person to go through “hell.”
There were also some people who claimed that his original post had been a fake. It was time to address these people as well.
Taking The High Road
“The story was definitely real, just like this issue is definitely real, but I now know that I myself should have handled it another way, or left it how it was, and not shared it publicly.”
Emmit knew that instead of discouraging intolerance in the world, his post was only highlighting it. It was time to be the bigger person.
Right And Wrong
“When dealing with people, I always try to stay on the side of Right, so to make sure I never do anybody wrong, I try to always put myself in that person’s shoes, and ask how would I feel if that person did this to me,” Emmit wrote on Instagram.
“And if I was her this morning I would be a total wreck today, and that doesn’t help this situation, or her… it only makes them more angry, and brings more drama…” Emmit decided to put things right.
“SO I WOULD LIKE TO APOLOGIZE AGAIN TO THE WOMAN I HAD THIS ENCOUNTER WITH YESTERDAY. NO MATTER HOW WRONG YOUR ACTIONS YOU DON’T DESERVE THIS,” He wrote in all caps. “I BELIEVE IF YOU CAN’T HELP NOBODY AT THE VERY LEAST YOU SHOULD NEVER DO ANYTHING TO HURT THEM.”
Unfortunately, the woman hasn’t accepted his apology. But if Emmit had a chance to redo that day, he’d choose to be a force for good – even if the rude woman didn’t deserve it.