Who's sitting next to you on the plane? Or better question…who's sitting next to your child?
I thought I would share with you something disturbing my friend just experienced on a flight. I will not say what airline, but my friend gave me her permission to use her name…
Colleene and Mike were on their way to Colorado. Mike jumped into the window seat and Colleene got the middle. At first there was a woman with a baby in the aisle seat. A couple rows up Colleene noticed a fidgety man who looked a little “off”. He kept turning around and staring at her. After a few minutes he came back and asked the woman next to Colleene if she would like to switch with him to be closer to her husband. Of course, she took him up on it. Colleene was creeped out by this man, but just thought maybe he was a nervous flyer or really did have some sort of problem. She said he looked like he was in his mid 50's, clean cut and not bad looking (not like that means anything!). She was still a little iffy about him…
About mid-flight Colleene and Mike both dozed off…What woke Colleene up is the whole reason I am writing this post…the man sitting next to her was aggressively rubbing her upper thigh. I am talking – very upper thigh – if you know what I mean. What…The…Hell. Now, you need to know that Collene is my least dramatic friend. She is the type to totally handle situations quietly and not cause a scene. She can definitely take care of herself and is not an over-reactor by any means!
She scolded the man as much as she could over the loud noises of the plane. At this point the flight was descending and it was harder to hear. Mike was still asleep and oblivious to what was happening. Even after she yelled at the man she said he was still sitting there staring at her. That was when she thought she had to notify an attendant. This man clearly had issues and what if he was sitting next to a child? She called the flight attendant and later had to press charges with the feds when they got off the plane. Since it happened in the air, it's the FBI's jurisdiction.
To speed up this story, Colleene later found out that this man had no prior convictions. Whoever she was dealing with told her that he is married and works in the film industry in California.
She shared this story with another friend who works for a popular airline. This person said that something similar to this occurred just a few days after it happened to Colleene on one of her flights. This time the culprit WAS a registered sex offender. She also said that the airline has no screening process to see if a passenger is a predator.
This freaked me the heck out. I am already a nervous flyer. Of course I am more concerned about terrorists, crazy people trying to open the door, and the plane gaining a sunroof mid-flight…but, add this to the list now, too! Looks like I am going to ditch the pre-flight cocktails and ALWAYS make sure I get “A” seating!
All joking aside…I am sharing this with you because a lot of you are parents and I think this is something worth knowing. Just to keep an eye out and maybe make sure that YOU are always sitting next to your child and not a stranger.
~~~On a side note – Colleene is not happy at all about how the airline handled this. She was told that she would receive a phone call to follow up with her horrendous flight. Granted, it wasn't directly the airline's fault that there was a creep on the plane, but a simple apology would have went a long way. After a few weeks, she took it upon herself to call them and was rudely asked, “Why would WE call and apologize?”
Personally, I was somewhat surprised to learn that sex offenders are not required to notify the airline before traveling. I mean, it is a requirement at many campgrounds, why wouldn't it be one on a plane? After hearing about things like this happening, I hope a rule comes into play soon.
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