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Thursday, 18 September 2014

United...by my hunger.

After I got in an argument with the steward who told me that United Airlines no longer did vegan meals, the people in the seats around me started handing me their unopened salads.
First it was the man behind me.
'I heard what she said to you,' he told me, 'and it's not true they don't do vegan meals anymore, it's an option on their website,'
I said thanks and took the salad from him and he said, 'And the guy next to me hasn't eaten his, I'll ask him if you can have that, too,'
I said thanks again and a few moments later he gave me that salad also.
Then the man across the aisle, the man with whom I had swapped seats because he had longer legs than me and needed an aisle seat with no seat in front, handed me his salad also.
'I feel bad,' he said, 'I feel like I stared all this,'
I laughed and said, 'No, it isn't your fault. United screwed up my meal on my way over to the UK, too. I don't expect any better from them, which is why I've brought an emergency bag of bananas from Tesco with me,'
Then the woman next to me, who was from Sunderland, and whose husband I had been earlier talking to about tattoos, gave me her salad as well.
'He's already eaten his,' she said, of her husband, 'otherwise you could have had his as well,'
I laughed and said never mind.
And then another man across the aisle from me gave me his unopened salad, too.
And then the steward came back, bringing me another salad.
I told her thank you and started to open one of the salads.
But once it was open I realised I had no cutlery, so I walked to the back of the plane and asked the same steward for some cutlery.
When I got back to my seat I started to eat some lettuce, but one of the tines of the plastic fork broke off, so I ate the contents of the 1 provided and 5 donated salads with my fingers.

In the morning, just as the plane was getting ready to land, the purser came down to see me and give my vegan breakfast.
The purser, a very nice middle-aged woman who gave me her email address, explained to me that my vegan meal had been given to the wrong passenger, the passenger seated next to the man with with long legs with whom I had swapped seats.
I looked over at the woman who had eaten my meal.
Her hair was grey and cut into a bob and she was wearing some kind of white eye shades that looked like furry swimming goggles and she had some kind of expensive looking ear phones over her ears.
She must have known she'd eaten my vegan meal because special meals always come out first.
She must have known she wasn't eating the common chicken and pasta or fish and broccoli.
She must have known she was eating someone else's meal and she also must have seen the confusion going on around her whilst I was arguing with the steward and whilst people were handing me salads from all over the place.

But I didn't really mind that she'd eaten my vegan meal.
Because the ratio of arsehole to kindness on that United Airlines 10.25 morning flight from London to LA had been 1 to 5.

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