Last summer my family and I traveled to Oahu. It was the first time we were taking our children who were six and eight. We were all looking forward to having a wonderful time relaxing on the beaches, playing in the hotel pools and seeing the sights of Hawaii.
Unfortunately for the plane ride over our flight was cancelled and customer service agents had to scramble to place over three hundred passengers onto other flights. As a result, we all ended up with middle seats spread across three rows. When we boarded the plane one passenger was kind enough to give up his aisle seat so that we could at least have two seats together. Since we only had one portable DVD player for the kids to share, we decided to let them sit together and I would sit in the row right behind them.
The kids started off well but soon became fidgety and bored with the inflight movie, RANGO, that failed to capture their attentions. It wasn’t long before they began messing with the seat recliner buttons, talking loudly, wanting things from the packed bags over our heads, and generally annoying everyone, including myself, who sat within two rows of us. When I checked my watch, I was completely distraught to see that we still had three and a half hours of flight time left! In an attempt to find something to occupy them, I grabbed my backpack from under the seat in front of me and took out the snacks I had packed, two sandwich sized baggies of goldfish.
This worked for about two minutes.
Next thing I knew they were tossing the goldfish at each other and trying to catch them in their mouths. I thought the man sitting in the window next to them was going to implode! I stood up for what seemed like the hundredth time and told them to, “knock it off,” in the scariest mom voice I could muster. That was when my daughter threw one more goldfish into her brother’s mouth.
Furious, I got out of my row and crouched down in the aisle next to her so I could give her a good telling off. That’s when I noticed violent convulsions coming from my son’s seat next to her. He was trying to stand up with his seat belt still on and his face was turning a terrifying shade of blue. Before I had even fully registered what was happening, the man sitting next to my son unbuckled both their seat belts, walked over both children, pushed me out of the way, grabbed my son and began performing the Heimlich maneuver on him in the narrow aisle. Agonizing moments passed while I watched my son’s body racked by the man’s attempts to save his life. I started screaming for help but before anyone could even respond, my son was throwing up all over the floor and the seats of the passengers who had moved out of the way.
After we determined that my son was stable and that Oahu would have the nearest medical facility for him to be properly checked at, the man who saved us from disaster gladly gave up his window seat for the remainder of the flight so that I could sit with both kids who behaved like perfect angels the rest of the way.
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