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  • Writer's pictureAmy Noel Green

Passenger Ignores Flight Attendant. That's When The Pilot Steps In.

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

My husband took a flight recently. He told me that after the plane landed, while it was still taxiing down the runway, a passenger got up and started walking down the aisle. I'm sure he wanted to be the first person out the door. But perhaps he should have had the decency to create an incredible story about an Amazing Race style competition he was in, or an elaborate tale of a connecting flight taking off in mere minutes that he had to catch to avoid abandoning his bride-to-be at the altar. Everyone on the plane might have enjoyed the story and let him slip by them once the plane had stopped.

But that's not what he did, he just grabbed his bag and headed down the aisle while the plane was still in motion. The flight attendant, still seated, because those are the rules, got on the intercom and announced, "Passengers, return to your seats." It was kind of her not to single him out. She pretended it was a general reminder to everyone rather than a reprimand to an individual.

But the guy ignored the flight attendant. She became a little more direct, "Sir, please return to your seat." I'm going to let you guess how effective this message was at convincing the aisle-surfing passenger to return to his seat.

He thought he knew better. The risk was past. He'd flown a million times, nothing exciting ever happened after the landing. He stood his ground.

And that's when, I kid you not, the pilot pumped the brakes. The defiant passenger fell down, and then sheepishly returned to his seat.

Now, maybe the pilot shouldn't have done that. I'm going to guess it went against safety protocols. But whose to say the abrupt and very brief stop wasn't necessary? We're in the realm of plausible deniability. The passenger wasn't injured and I suspect he will never forget the lesson he learned in the aisle that day.

As a mom, I feel like my kids constantly think they know better than me. (This delusion afflicts my husband from time to time too.) I ask them to do something, and they do something else entirely, assuming their actions are just as good as the ones I requested, maybe even better. It grates at me. I find it insulting. If they respected me and trusted that I had thought through my request, they would do exactly what I asked and not their own interpretation of my request.

But, as soon as I get defensive and frustrated, I feel God remind me that I'm no better. Often times, God will speak something to my spirit and I will ignore it. I'll decide it's not that important, or that I can do it later, or that perhaps I could do something else, maybe something less embarrassing and it will have the same effect.

I hear the subtle, patient voice of God and I ignore it like the man in the aisle ignored the voice of the flight attendant. I have to admit that anytime I don't obey the thoughts God puts in my spirit, I'm disrespecting God. I'm practically shouting that I don't really trust that He knows me and loves me.

And I don't think God pumps the brakes, because I don't think He has to. Life is not a smooth runway, there are plenty of pot holes and other obstacles just waiting to trip me up. It's hard to keep my ears tuned to God's voice. It's easy to assume that the things I'm feeling in my spirit are just my own thoughts and they don't really matter that much. It's hard to trust that God is constantly speaking to me and to take those subtle words seriously. But it's even harder to lose my balance, fall down and limp back to my seat ashamed because I know God was trying to help me out and I thought I knew better.

Amy Noel Green is a conference and keynote speaker. She is a writer and game designer who has received international press attention for her work on the video game about her son Joel, That Dragon, Cancer. Follow her at

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