I thought I would share a recent experience I had on a Virgin flight from Sydney to Brisbane. The incident left me angry, embarrassed and acutely aware of how society has become fearful of everyone. To the point that we are all presumed guilty and treated appropriately.
Is it media, the Internet or is society beginning to crumble away as human contact becomes lessened and we retreat into a cyber world of posts tweets and blogs?
But I digress,
It was a Sunday afternoon when I boarded the plane. I came to a row of three seats and there were two young boys ( about 10 years old) seated in the window and middle seat. I was allocated the window but knowing how much fun it was looking out the window as a child, I let the little bloke sit in my seat. I sat on the aisle seat and started to read a magazine as the pre-flight checks were being completed. After about 10 minutes, a stewardess approached me and asked whether I was in the correct seat. I explained how the child was technically in my seat but it was fine and he could have it. She quizzically acknowledged this and walked away. Although this seemed weird I didn’t think much of it and went back to my magazine.
The fasten seat belt sign was illuminated and we were clear for takeoff. Then the stewardess approached me again.
‘Sir we are going have to ask you to move’
‘Why’, I said.
‘Well, because you are male, you can’t be seated next to two unaccompanied minors’.
Shocked, I replied, ‘ Isn’t this sexist and discriminatory?’
She replied, ‘I am sorry, but that is our policy’.
By this stage a few people from the surrounding rows had started to look around and wonder what the problem was. The stewardess walked two rows up to the aisle seat across from me. She spoke to a 20 year old women and asked if she would mind swapping seats because I wasn’t allowed to sit next to the children. That was the explanation given.
The girl obliged . As I collected my things from the seat pocket I could see people looking at me and wondering why I was being moved. I was red from embarrassment. I felt like I was being judged and found guilty of a crime I hadn’t committed. It was an uncomfortable situation and I felt ashamed which was a weird feeling because I hadn’t done anything wrong.
As I sat in my seat for the 1 hour flight I started to get quite angry at the treatment I had suffered and couldn’t help but feel like I was being held accountable for all the paedophilic scum bags on the planet.
The irony of the situation is that I am a emergency service worker and if the children were in trouble I would be given the responsibility of protecting them. Men are policemen, doctors, social workers, teachers… people who are entrusted to the care of children but according to Virgin once you step on one of their planes you are a pedophile or a potential pedophile.
So being the narc I am I wrote to Virgin complaining of the treatment that I had been subjected to. I had stated in my email that women can also be predators . In response I was quoted their policy.
“Unaccompanied children will have spare seats allocated next to them when they are flying. In the case of a full plane then a female will be sat next to the children”.
Further to this I was told that they had incidents of children being interfered with before and they were all men.
So my suspicions were confirmed. Because I am a man I am presumed to be a predator and because Virgin were chasing the almighty dollar they overbooked their plane and allocated the spare seat next to children. It seems Virgin has the children’s best interests at heart until money is involved.
Shouldn’t the spare seat be deemed occupied if this is their policy. NO individual male or female should be allocated this seat. By allowing women to sit there and not men is blatant discrimination. BLATANT. I guarantee if this policy was reversed and women were not allowed to sit there and men were it wouldn’t last for too long.
This has inspired me to send another letter to Virgin and suggest some amendments to their seating policies.
Amendment 1# Men should only be allowed to sit next to other men.
Because after all the majority of individuals who commit rape are men. Shouldn’t we then presume that we are all rapists and cant be trusted to sit next to any female. Actually that discounts male to male rape. Sorry.
Amendment 2# No male should sit next to anyone.
A spare seat will be allocated next to any male at any time to ensure the safety of women and children.
What we all need to realize is that as soon as we step into the outside world we are potentially vulnerable. There are dangers every where. In our attempts to lessen the danger we must be aware that we are not projecting our insecurities onto innocent parties. Not all men are pedophiles or rapists and we shouldn’t be made to feel this way.
I would like to finish by saying that if we didn’t work so hard on protecting pedophiles and giving them new identities it may be a little easier to identify these scumbags rather than being mistaken for one.