I am a huge fan of the Hispanic people. They work hard. They play hard. They live and work in this country as Americans. They come to this country to be Americans.
Every day, in some form or another, I give thought to how to effectively market to Hispanics. For the most part, I think I have a firm understanding (which is based on respect) for Hispanics. So, please keep my frame of reference in the back of your mind when reading this story.
I was flying back to DFW from El Paso recently. I got upgraded to first class by the airline. My traveling companion, a bilingual Cuban-American, was also upgraded.
When we got on the plane, we immediately found our seats. To my brief surprise, my window seat was next to a man of immense proportions. He was easily 6 foot 6 inches AND 400 pounds. He was overweight. He had wedged himself into his seat. When I told him I was in the seat next to him, his look spoke volumes. He was looking to see if I had a negative reaction to his size. He expected, I think, that I would give him an exasperated look and/or make a rude comment. After seating myself, he asked me if I had enough room. I replied I was more than fine…and I was. It occurred to me then he had probably purchased that first class seat so he would have enough room. And, it was probably more expensive than buying two normal seats.
Then, the incident happened. Two ladies of Hispanic origin entered the plane and started tossing their stuff in the seats immediately in front of us. They were attractive women. But, they were dressed in what I would consider trashy clothes, unsuitable for traveling. The one was wearing a grey sweatsuit and she had the hood up. The other was wearing the “Juicy” brand sweats. Now, if you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing wealthy women wearing “Juicy” clothes, you are probably better off. The word “Juicy” is silk-screened on the ass of these sweat pants. They can be purchased in higher end department stores. I’m sure they are expensive. They are not cool or hip, in my opinion. They remind me of Paris Hilton.
The “Juicy” lady had a large bag she needed to put in the overhead compartment. She stood in the aisle, holding up the other passengers, and looked for an empty spot for her bag. But, she didn’t lift her bag. She just stood there looking at the other first class passengers. After a good 30 seconds, she said something very loudly in spanish. I’ll admit, I don’t know as much spanish as I should. I only caught a couple of the words. Then, one of the male first class passengers said something to her in spanish in response. She shot him a very dirty look and then finally put her bag in the overhead compartment. After all this, she then took her seat.
I didn’t give another thought to the exchange. I pulled out my cellphone and called my real estate agent and my lawyer and my broker and had very important conversations. Of course they were important, I was in first class, right?
The plane took off and reached cruising altitude. As if on cue both women SLAMMED their seats to the full recline position. And, the very large gentleman seated next to me was nearly assaulted by this action. He had a seat in his lap. He had to move his arms and legs to either side of the seat, in effect straddling it, in order to ease the pressure on his lap. He would have been unable to get up had he tried. I looked him in the eye with a questioning look expecting him to be angry. He was calm and indicated nothing. So, I pulled out a magazine and pretended to read it. I was angry. I was annoyed. I couldn’t believe the complete lack of regard these two women were exhibiting. But, if the person to whom the slight had occurred wasn’t going to respond, I felt I should mind my own business. He remained motionless, locked in that position, for the entire duration of the flight
When the flight landed, I joined my travelling companion in the terminal and told him about the seat incident. He responded that he wasn’t surprised and said that the incident with the bag was very funny. He translated for me what the “Juicy” woman had said.
“Stupid Americans. In Mexico a man would lift my bag up for me.”
My companion said the response from the other Hispanic was, “In Mexico, women can lift their own bags.”
Now, I have lifted bags for women on planes. I have seen lots of men do this. Chivalry is alive and well…but, not when it is expected. When it is gracious and kind, it is provided. When it is brazenly expected…well, I think most people would think the same thing – you packed it, you can carry it.
This lady made several wrong assumptions. She assumed no one else spoke spanish. And, making that assumption while the plane was sitting in El Paso was just dumb. She also assumed making a scene was the right way to get what she wanted. Had she asked, she would have gotten help. Had she smiled and flipped her hair, five guys would have jumped up. Had she been polite, people would have treated her with kindness. And, her actions (and her companion’s) with the seat was inexcusable. In summary, that lady is a jamoke.
First class is a privilege. It does not imply anyone is above being a decent human.