This morning – like most other folks – I saw this video of United Airlines’ forced removal of a passenger for being on an overbooked flight.
It reminded me of two stand-out experiences I had had with United…among many. It seems like a good time to revisit them.
The more recent took place a few years ago. I was boarding a plane and saw a short older woman struggling to lift her bag into the overhead compartment. She was a couple of passengers ahead of me and I couldn’t reach her to help. There was a flight attendant directly in front of her, watching her. I called out and said, “Can you help her?” She looked at me calmly and said, “That’s not my job.” I replied, “A perfect motto for United” while closer passengers realized the woman’s problem and began to help.
The story opens on a typical middle class American community. People work together and play together in harmony. They are good neighbors who know each other well.
As the narrator says…
“Maple Street, U.S.A. Late summer. A tree-lined little world of front porch gliders, barbecues, the laughter of children and the bell of an ice cream vendor. At the sound of the roar and the flash of light, it will be precisely 6:43 p.m. on Maple Street. This is Maple Street on a late Saturday afternoon. Maple Street – in the last calm and reflective moment – before the monsters came.”
You came to the U.S. two years ago as a Somali refugee, after six years in Pakistan. As refugees, your family wase no doubt leaving a bad situation, taking you – their future. At about the age of 10, you were old enough to remember why they left.
Within two years of arriving here with your family, you had graduated from a community college and gained entry to one of the great public universities in the United States. Your arrival appears to have been assisted with temporary housing (and perhaps more) by Catholic Charities.
Your Facebook postings express your uncertainty about where to pray on the Ohio State Campus and worries whether, if you did pray publicly , there would be negative reaction. You felt the U.S. was engaged in a religious war.
So, you drove a car into your fellow Ohio State students and, when you crashed it a student ran to see if you needed help and you came out with a butcher knife. You injured 11 people you didn’t know.