If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times.
My son, the actor, had his eyes set on flying the friendly skies in comfort. In style.
Frugality, coupled with a bag of pretzels and a soda water had taken its' toll on the lad. He'd had it up to *here* with cramped quarters, no leg room. However, being a member of our family dictated that frugality rule. We had little desire to use valuable funds in such fashion. Get to your destination, then use funding to enjoy said such destination was our motto. He'd have to wait for the day he could pay his own way for the infamous front cabin. -Or- He *could* land a gig in a movie/tv show/ commercial/other that filmed on location, and he'd be set. Or, shall I say, he'd have a new place to sit??
We arrived at the airport early. So early in fact, that we had to wait to check in, so that those on the first outbound flight could be processed. By the time we sidled up to the counter, Israel was chomping at the bit. I handled the details of boarding passes and luggage. As I did, I happened to notice our seat assignments. Rows 9 and 11. Hmmm. Didn't sound like first class numerics to me . . . but certainly explainable, though.
The counter representative had been exceptionally kind to us. Chatting, chatting . . . no additional charge for my slightly overweight bag. Her gentle demeanor was in stark contrast to an exhange we had just witnessed moments before between her and a passenger due to board the previous flight. Was this preferential treatment? And why? Surely there was no reason. Three locals, boarding a plane headed north. Unless . . . it crossed my mind that perhaps the name of the production company was listed on her computer screen as the reference having made reservations. But no . . . that seemed far out. Yet, if it were true . . . I contemplated this potential as she finished strapping on the last baggage tape.
Smiling and handing me our documents, I ventured a guess, with Israel's first class seating expectations in mind:
"May I ask? We are boarding a small plane here, correct?" I queried, venturing knowledge within my son, the actor's earshot.
"Yes, that's correct." Ms. Smiling Airline Representative nodded.
"Are you able to see if we are scheduled for first class seating on our next flight?" I rummaged, speaking a tad bit louder than necessary, so as to garner my sons' attention, without actually being the bearer of factual news.
"Oh, yes!" she exclaimed. "First class out of Atlanta."
"Oh, good." was my reply, as I gave a sidwise glance at my child. "I really didn't want him to freak out!"
Israel returned my gaze with understanding. 'Ok,' he said with his eyes. 'No FC accomodations on the first flight, definitely on the second. Got it. Check.'
I turned back to Ms. A. Representative. She was now returning my gaze in a somewhat glazed over look that I couldn't quite describe, or interpret.
We gathered what was left of our belongings and headed to the gate.
Waiting, waiting, waiting . . . we sat somewhat occupied in the terminal. Israel busied himself with an electronic, and I watched Keller explore, accompanied by his occasional John Travolta move. That's when it hit me ~ the potential understanding of what Ms. Rep's look was all about . . . IF my far-out thought were anywhere near correct, that she had knowledge of our 'travelling actor' status . . .
If you'll allow me an interpretation of how her ears might have processed my comment, "I don't want him to freak out." I imagine her mind played a scenario similar to this:
"Oh, my gosh! Not another spoiled rotten actor, pouting and not getting his way, just because he's not seated in first class with the best accomodations! Well let me tell you what! He needs to be knocked down a notch, because there are starving children in Africa . . .If that were my son, you can be sure I'd be taking him out the woodshed . . ." and so on.
Was that the case? I'll never know.
But one thing's for certain. We *never* want to fit that mold, that description, that stereotype.
My son, the actor may very well fly first class again in his young life . . . but may it be with a heart of gratitude that he does so.
May the First Class Freak Out never happen on our watch.