A Night at the Airport

  • Leslie Crucil, MS

                The following is an excerpt from Leslie Crucil’s book, “You Don’t Need to Know That – The Saga of Sammy.” This incident occurred when Sammy was in sixth grade, and her sister Dana, an eight grader, was returning from science camp. They were seated in the airport’s waiting area along with several other families from Dana’s school.

                It was after nine-thirty and except for the waiting parents, the airport was actually pretty empty. Even the woman who had been manning the counter at our gate where we heard the flight announcements was gone. At the time there was minimal security, and we, along with the other families, were basically the only people upstairs. It was an eerie feeling and certainly not a scenario encountered at the airport today, that’s for sure. Everyone was getting tired and bored, and some people were half asleep in their chairs. I was busy talking to someone and Sammy was not right by my side, but I knew she was somewhere close, so I wasn’t overly worried. Big Mistake!

                A few minutes later, we all heard what sounded like someone whispering over the airport loudspeaker system, but we couldn’t make out what was being said. We all looked around somewhat confused; because there was no airport official at our gate counter or even in our general area for that matter. A very soft voice somewhere kept repeating what sounded like, “Hello, Hello,” and “Where’s that plane?” This voice was being broadcast over the entire upstairs on the loudspeaker strictly reserved for the flight announcements. The whispery voice continued again with, “Hello, Hello” and “I want that plane to hurry up!” We all started to laugh, figuring someone was playing a joke on us and agreed with the sentiment of the plane hurrying up. Not following my rule of “Think before you speak”, I said something like, “Who’s on the loudspeaker? It sounds like a kid!” Noting that Sammy was not in my immediate field of vision, I knew I had spoken too soon. Another parent said, “I think Sammy is behind the counter,” and sure enough, she was.

                I raced up to the counter, looked behind it, and there was Sammy, crouched down, microphone in hand, delighting in the fact that her voice was being broadcast all over the airport. Several of the parents also suggested that Sammy contact the pilots to see just exactly what was taking the flight so long. Given the chance, Sammy would have been only too happy to oblige. Well, I thought, at least it wasn’t a loud screaming meltdown in front of all the parents! The other thought that crossed my mind was, Thank goodness she hadn’t said, “Where the Hell is the plane?”

                Not long before the airport incident, we were having dinner at home and the phone rang just as we were literally sitting down to eat. I suggested we let the answering machine pick it up, to which Sammy added, “Who the Hell is calling at dinner?” Unfortunately, she had probably heard me say that at some point in the past when I shouldn’t have, and no doubt,  she stored that in her memory bank for future use. Of course, that dinner conversation became yet another lecture on appropriate versus inappropriate language.

                But back at the airport, I gathered her up from behind the counter and made sure she stayed at my husband Jeff’s side for the rest of the evening. Surprisingly, Jeff thought the airport incident was pretty funny and just laughed it off, although he kept a tight grip on Sammy’s hand until the plane arrived about a half hour later. Imagine if that had happened today? We all would have been detained as terrorists, no doubt. Note to self: Never let that kid out of my sight, and watch language!

    Leslie Crucil holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Counseling and has been in education for over 30 years. Currently, she teaches at a Community College in So. California and is a guest-lecturer at several universities in their teacher-training tracts.

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