I don’t know about you, but every time I get on a plane, I pray the seat next to me as empty. It’s always so much better to stretch out, watch a movie, get a few hours of sleep, and not have to worry about nosey neighbors.
But, of course, very rarely, we get to have truly wonderful (or at least interesting) encounters with the people around us as we fly.
These folks recently went online to share stories of the most memorable encounters they had with other people on a flight. Make sure your tray tables are in the upright position!
20. The Prophesy
I left for Canada when I was only 18 to pursue my post secondary education. I’m from Zambia, down South of Africa, so I’d travel home every summer break from Ontario back to Lusaka.
During my summer flight heading back home I sat next to this small Ethiopian lady who I later found out was very kind, smart and engaging. She spoke about how she’s lived in Canada for decades with her husband and two daughters.
We spoke about life, relationships and several random subjects. We began to talk about how I felt about Canada and where I wanted to settle down eventually.
“Do you want to live in Canada?” She asked with a subtle smile.
“I’d like to stay here for a few years and work, then head back home,” I responded.
She chuckled while saying, “Wait until you find a beautiful Canadian girlfriend—that will change.”
I laughed and we moved on with the conversation. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.
Fast-forward to 4 years since our conversation: I now have a beautiful Canadian girlfriend who’s an amazing nurse, and will make an amazing wife.
19. Passenger Pilot
I once sat next to a commercial pilot who was going to work. So people like me go to their jobs on bus, motor bike, or car. But pilots take flights to their work. Isn’t that super cool? I am so jealous.
Anyway coming back to the story. We were chatting about our professional lives when the plane started to tremble, something that gets me scared. I brought my apprehension to his notice when he told me that this is the part that excites the pilot. Otherwise the flight would be really boring. To say that I was dumbfounded is an understatement. Well, he had an explanation.
“Flying a plane in a good weather is really easy, you can put the plane on autopilot and it will take you from point A to point B. It is during the bad weather that a pilot is responsible for keeping the flight safe.”
“Could you wish for anything else except bad weather while flying? You know like more normal wishes. How about that next promotion, the big house or that fancy car you want?”
Even though I was being serious. He laughed it off.
Our conversation went ahead and I asked him about his most interesting client. He mentioned that he once flew a young wealthy guy.
“This dude came in wearing worn-out t-shirt and jeans. We were curious to know how he made the big money and asked him. To which he replied that he was a part of a start-up which took off reasonably well. After the flight we Googled him, only to find out he was a co-founder of Google.”
Cracked us both.
18. House Visit
Not sure if this was the best, but it was certainly fun. I was flying first class with an airline employee friend of mine to see Beijing. A middle-aged gentleman was seated next to me. The first hour, he downed about 8 drinks. He told me he always gets good and pickled on this flight, passes out, and wakes up in China. He said he travels this route frequently for work.
A short time later, we began sharing our employment statuses. I happened to be a physician who worked in an inpatient hospital. Soon after that, he pulls out a photo of a young attractive Asian woman, and asks me if I thought she was attractive. Of course I agreed she was.
He then told me that for a modest sum, he provides her with an apartment, and then stays with her when he’s in China. About this time, I noticed he had a wedding ring on. Well, I’m no prude, but I found his arrangement distasteful to say the least.
Next, he tells me he’s not so foolish to think that he is the only person his “girlfriend” is with, and since I’m a doctor, he asked if there’s anything he should be concerned about.
I might mention, every 2 weeks I gave the patients in our hospital a lecture on STIs and blood-borne pathogens. So I had a lot of facts and figures committed to memory.
I proceeded to give him an in-depth dissertation on numerous conditions. This included estimates of the incidence of some conditions in China. And since I knew he was rather inebriated, I did some of the math to translate to actual numbers in a country of a billion plus people.
Normally I would not ever do such a thing, but when he told me about his “arrangement” and I saw his wedding band, I guess I couldn’t help myself.
Suffice to say, he did NOT appear to sleep on this flight to his destination.