I’m not the type that hangs around bars, but in my travels around the world I’ve run into a lot of drunk people and must admit that there are a few things I enjoy more than observing disorderly conduct from people who have had a few too many. What that says about me, well, you can draw your own conclusions, but a recent video caught my attention of a drunk passenger engaging in a verbal spar, than fistfight with a United Airlines deadheading Chicago-based First Officer in the A Concourse of Washington Dulles Airport. Be warned, this video contains profanity.
If you watch the whole thing, you’ll see the pilot clearly shares a portion of the blame for not only engaging the drunk passenger, but inviting him to fight.
Media reports have since identified the passenger as 53-year-old Donald Gee, who was taken into custody after the incident. He was jailed and released after posting $2,500 bond, authorities said.
A United Airlines spokesman told WJLA: “Violence against our employees is unacceptable and we will review this closely. We are fully cooperating with authorities and do not have further comment at this time.
The whole video is pitiful really–and the more I think about it, the more I think the pilot shares more of the blame than the drunk. Hear me out.
I have no expectation that a 53-year-old drunk will act in a professional manner. He’s a disgusting man, or at least a man with no self-control who acted in a disgusting way. But the pilot also failed the self-control test.
True, he listened to a jerk swearing at him for two minutes before finally losing it, but he is the captain of an airplane: 50-75 lives are in his hands every time he takes off. He is the sober professional, the one who should set the example. And he failed.
By taunting the drunk–engaging with him and then, when the drunk wanted to “take things outside” responding that there “is no need to take things outside,” a clear invitation to a physical altercation was offered.
So I hope this pilot also receives some counseling on self-control–that he need not assert his authority in a needless way…it’s not like that drunk was going to fly. Put in a similar situation, I hope I would have had the self-discipline to just walk away.