An open letter to the jackass in the security line at the Austin International Airport Saturday morning.
Boy, those lines were insane, huh? Everyone was getting a little anxious as they realized they would just make their gates (I was the last one on even though I arrived at the airport in plenty of time!). People, for the most part, were good naturedly complaining about it to their neighbors and making calls to give folks a heads up that they may not make their flight. Everyone seemed to be in a “we’re all in this together” kind of mood. Until I heard from behind me a very loud “Hey LADY. You can’t cut the line”. At first a few people chuckled and said “busted” but then you.would.not.shut.up. Your verbal abuse of this woman went on so long people stopped making eye contact and just stared ahead uncomfortably. I couldn’t see either one of you until the line snaked around and what I saw was a very harassed, repentant looking woman begging everyone to go ahead of her and apologizing profusely saying she was just late. And boy did you pounce on that. You told her we were ALL late (true). You asked if she was proud of herself for making other people miss their flights because of her (really? drama much?). You threatened to get security (great idea.. it was already taking them forever to herd us all through the line). You said she was disgusting (no words). You actually shouted the words NOT FAIR a couple of times and I wondered if you were a 12 year old. Then I saw the 12 year old. Your son. He had to be your son; he had the same spit shined black loafers, sharply creased black slacks and blue oxford shirt buttoned all the way up to the top. I thought..”oh boy..poor kid must be so embarrassed”. Then I saw his face. He had this look of smug delight as though dressing down and humiliating people were a father and son activity you enjoyed together. That made me incredibly sad. He is a very nice looking kid, probably very smart and certainly must have all the opportunities to prosper. What he doesn’t have (yes.. I am judging you as a parent based on a 20 minute encounter at an airport. Deal with it …you’re the one that showed his ass in public) is a strong male role model. Have you ever heard the words “teachable moment”? I’m guessing you haven’t. That woman did not look like a very experienced traveler. She was alone, looked overwhelmed by the whole process. Maybe she absolutely could not miss her flight for reasons none of us will ever know. Not everyone has the means to just rebook a later flight. She may not have even understood that was an option if she did miss hers. I was pleased to hear one young couple tell her to stay in front of them and ask her about her plans. They had children with them too. Lucky children. There was another young family standing not too far from you. I saw the father motion to you to step back. He told you politely it was “enough”. I hope your son saw that. That man didn’t bully or humiliate you. He simply said “enough”. And you were blissfully silent for about 2 minutes and then one woman said “kudos” to you and you positively preened and said “SOMEONE has to speak up” as though you see yourself as some urban superhero fighting injustice. Yes. One woman in the line thought you did the right thing. The other 600 people in earshot wanted to tell you to shut the fuck up, but the rest of us have manners.
I hope you made your flight and I hope you enjoy all the calls you are sure to get over the next several years about your boy bullying his peers. You will have earned every one of them.