Flying in the modern age can be a real drag. Long gone are the days of comforts, luxury, and relative ease when it comes to taking to the now not so friendly skies.
Before you even get on the plane, you are forced to deal with the long security lines where you are treated more like a prisoner than a paying customer. Then you have to find your way to your plane before it takes off without you because you were forced to go through an extensive search (see: shakedown) by TSA agents. And then when you finally board your plane, you often have to deal with people who are even more stressed and frustrated than you.
But sometimes the stress of flying can have a major effect on your body, mind, and soul, and cause you to make some not so great decisions when reacting with others around you. What may seem normal at the time becomes one of life's major regrets after the dust settles and your normal, more rational self returns. But even though the cooler version of yourself returns, they are still left to deal with the wreckage left behind.
This is where the story of Sandra comes in. Sandra recently took to Reddit to tell the story of a man who was not happy to be seated next to the mother of two. What first started out as an honest mistake quickly turned into a masterclass in how two people fall short of civility when faced with high-pressure situations. This road leads to revenge, one way or another, but who wins and who loses here is not so clear.
The way Sandra got back at the man who she claimed ruined her flight will leave you asking yourself one simple question: was it worth it?
Take a seat and buckle up because there's going to be some turbulence on this very bumpy ride.
This story starts innocent enough: Sandra, her husband, her daughter, and her son were all on a flight back home from a family trip when they realized they did not have four seats together.
"No big deal," Sandra later recalled. "We just split into two groups."
Sandra's husband took his seat with their son while Sandra took their daughter to their row where they were supposed to be sitting in the window and middle seats. But fate had different plans for this mother and her 4-year-old daughter.
"My daughter and I head back to our window and middle seat to find a guy in his 20s in our window seat," Sandra said. "I asked him to check his ticket, as I thought he might be in ours."
Honest mistake? We'll never know as the man "immediately got very rude and refused" to move and instead put in his earbuds in an attempt to block out the mother and her daughter.
Sandra thought it was an annoying move on the man's part, but she and her daughter just sat down in the middle and aisle seats so others could get past them on the plane. She placed her daughter in the middle seat and when most of the passengers were already settled in, Sandra got the attention of the nearest flight attendant to handle the situation.
After some coercion by the flight attendant and Sandra herself, the man finally moved to his proper seat, but not before making several loud comments about Sandra being an "entitled witch" for wanting the seat stamped on her ticket.
"The truth is, I didn't care about the window seat, but I knew my kid was going to crane her neck to see out frequently and didn't want to be rude," Sandra remembered.
This is where the story starts to turn and you begin to ask yourself who's the hero and who's the villain. Instead of doing the normal routine of sitting herself between her daughter and the man, Sandra decided to take the window seat for herself. But why? Why did she take the window seat when she just said her daughter would be craning her neck to see the clouds and ground below? Was this an oversight on her part or was it just a part of her plan?
Did she want to intensify the situation just for the sake of it?
After the man finally moved back to his original seat, things went smoothly, at least for a little while.
Sandra was willing to let things go, but soon the worm would turn. She explained that as they took off, the man pulled out his phone, an external battery pack, and a collection of documents that made it look like he was flying somewhere for a job interview of some sort. Sandra initially thought nothing of the man's preparations, but she started to notice that the man slowly began putting his belongings on her daughter's tray. This is something that Sandra was not okay with and the incident only further set her off.
This problem could have been remedied by one quick action on Sandra's part. She could have simply moved to the middle seat, but as noted earlier, it doesn't look like conflict resolution is a high priority for this over-stressed, under-rested mother of two. Please note that while what happens next could solely be blamed on the man next to Sandra's daughter, Sandra's unwillingness to give up her window seat is a major contributing factor here.
"There was some turbulence so his battery pack that he had placed on her tray slid into her seat. He reached for it and she said, 'no, I'll get it.' His response: 'Don't touch my stuff.' She was alarmed and leaned over and buried her head on my shoulder."
The man had had enough and decided to call the flight attendant over, and when she got to their row, the man complained about the "out of control" kid and demanded to be moved. Despite his best efforts, the flight attendant turns down the man's request and quickly walks away as the disgruntled passenger sulked in his seat.
But like Sandra, the man didn't want this journey to end and decided to take this wild ride to the next level when he brought out one dirty and not so friendly weapon.
As this wild and crazy flight continued, the man wouldn't let things be and proceeded to pull out his tablet and started watching not so kid-friendly videos. Instead of putting in the headphones and pointing the screen towards his own face, the man decided it would be a tremendous idea to aim the screen towards Sandra's young daughter, which further enraged the mother.
"He gets out his tablet and starts surfing softcore smut," Sandra recalled.
But what's smut to one person is nothing more than racy photos and videos to the next person, as is the case here. Sandra would later recall that while there was no actual nudity in the videos, she thought it was far from being appropriate for her daughter. But again, why didn't Sandra simply change seats with her daughter to prevent this mess from spreading throughout the rest of the highly pressurized cabin? Well, we wouldn't be here if that were the case. So we continue.
Sandra was the first person to ask the man to put away the garbage he was watching, but he refused to even listen to the mother's complaints or concerns. Next, a guy in the seat across the aisle caught wind of the incident and skipped the whole asking part and told the man to put away the video. The guy refused to listen to reason but instead turned up the volume to act like he couldn't hear the multiple complaints.
The flight attendant was notified once more of the intensifying incident and proceeded to tell the man to turn off the movie, and watched him as he put it back into his bag.
End of the story? Not so fast.
If we were dealing with rational people, we would be done, but we're not dealing with normal, rational people here. We're dealing with passengers packed into a plane with little to no personal space.
If you guessed that the story continued then you are right. We're not quite done yet. We're far from finished, and when we are, no one will be left unscathed.
While all of this was going down, Sandra's husband was near the front of the plane with their young son, having no idea what was happening to his wife and daughter several rows back. At some point during the flight, Sandra's husband and son walked to the rear restroom on the plane and decided to stop by and check on the other members of their family. Noticing the man sitting next to his young daughter and wife, Sandra's husband tried to be polite and strike up a friendly conversation.
"[My husband] had no idea what's going on, so he said 'hello' and 'sorry you got stuck sitting by a kid, that's the worst right?'"
The man responded with some rude comment that Sandra blocked from her memory. Sandra's husband didn't like that all that much.
"My husband is usually pretty chill, but I could see that he was alarmed," Sandra recalled. "He asked if we wanted to switch, and I said yes. So now instead of 5'5 skinny me, he had my 6'4 husband to sit with."
Sandra proceeded to take her husband's seat and attempt to the enjoy the rest of the flight, but she still could not get the man or his actions off her mind. She felt as if this man had done so much to her and her daughter over the preceding hours and she kept telling herself that she had to do something to get back at this man.
She had to get revenge, no matter how much it would cost.
As she sat there fuming and scheming, Sandra remembered seeing the man prepare for a job interview. At that moment, Sandra remembered that one of her closest friends from college was a vice president of some sort at the company where the man was seeking a job. Oh, how nice of her to remember that "sweet friend" of hers from college who would now to get roped into her plan of ruining a man's professional aspirations all because he was rude to her on a flight.
Remember, we're not dealing with a rational person at this point. If Sandra were in any other circumstance, she probably would have just let bygones be bygones, but she acted like it was her life on the line and not her inflated and exhausted ego. Air travel has a way of bringing out the worst in us.
Having her plan formulated, Sandra waited for the plane to land so she could make an important phone call to that friend and block any opportunity of getting a good job that man had.
"When the plane landed, I made the call to this friend," Sandra said. "As he was passing by my seat, I made sure he heard the whole thing where I told my friend that the engineer they had coming in for an interview had just scared their goddaughter and that I'd text them with the photos of the guy with his laptop."
"I'm not a vengeful person but the look on his face filled my heart with glee," Sandra added. "My friend didn't know the people interviewing the guy, but he did pass along the story. I'm told that his interview started with, 'I see your reputation precedes you.'"
While Sandra says she's not a vengeful person, her actions speak for themselves.
Did Sandra actually get her victory here? And if so, was it worth it? Was it worth ruining this man's golden opportunity? If so, this sets one nasty precedent for her to follow in the rest of her life. Hopefully, for the sake of her children, this is an exception and not Sandra's everyday method of conflict management.