made her way down the airplane aisle and whispered, "May I sit here?"
My seat-mate and I- two steady, middle-aged customers- gave her one quick look and moved our feet aside. The poor dear was clearly terrified.
Four rows ahead, a jovial drunk had turned into a threatening one... and while the burly male flight attendant had a serious talk with him, our nervous friend had made her escape.
"I can't believe there are people like that," she murmured, never taking her eyes off his bobbing head. "He was going to hit me!"
After a few moments the flight attendant came back with reassurances.
"You just stay on board for a few minutes after we land," he advised her. "We're going to detain him so he can't do you any harm once you deplane or while you're getting your baggage."
Somehow this failed to comfort our frightened friend.
But sure enough, after we landed, there was a pause while two of Detroit's finest shouldered their way onto MD-80 and cuffed the charmer. An outburst not fit for my delicate ears met this show of force.... but by then, the entire plane was riveted.
As I stepped onto the jetway, I couldn't resist. Pausing by one of the officers assembled to handle the fracas, I looked up and smiled.
"What would we ladies do without you?" I asked in my most innocent tone. "Sometimes you just need a boy in blue!"
He visibly swelled in his uniform shirt, fighting the smile that threatened to take over his face.
"Just doing our job, ma'm," he downplayed.
Playfully I gave his name badge a light pat as I moved past him. "Well, keep it up, officer!"
And I meant every word of it. Just not on my beat!