I was traveling from New York to India and it was an exceptionally busy flight.

I was seated next to an elderly Indian lady. As I was getting comfortable, a couple came up to our seats (a three seat confit) and told the old lady that she was in their seat. I could see that the Indian lady was having troubles responding in English. So, I verified the boarding passes and told the couple to wait and a crew member would sort it out.

The wife started to get abusive and saying things like, “we are Americans and will have priority.” “Foreigners always book tickets last minute and because they cannot speak English, so all this mess is happening.” Etc.

I offered to stand up and give the lady my seat and she said she wanted “her seat”.

Luckily, a crew member came over and I explained her the situation and he noticed the couple still ranting.

He asked me to escort the Indian lady and grabbed our bags.

As we were walking away, the wife was still making comments on how we created so much discomfort to them.

I honestly did not think of it much as it was not a big deal for me to get seated elsewhere.

We start walking. We cross two sections of economy seating and end up in business class!

I told the crew member that I was fine going back to my seat and he said, “You can keep this lady company. I am sure she does not want to be here by herself.”

I had to go back to my seat to collect my reading glasses that I left in the seat pocket.

And what do I see, the wife is arguing with the crew members that because we were already seated they should go to business class. Obviously, she saw what had happened.

I wished them a safe flight and took a good look at their disdain-filled loser faces.

At the end of the day, the older Indian lady reaching across the arm rest and holding my hand saying thank you

That was the highlight of that trip.


Yogesh Shrivastava 


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