Unbelievably callous behavior - or is it just me? (Long OP)

OK, here’s the setup.

We’re flying back to Dallas and about 80 miles out the flight attendants call and say that a man in back is requesting paramedics meet him when we arrive. We ask for more info, tell them to find out if there are any doctors on board, etc. Two doctors are on board, they lay this man down in the aisle and after examining him tell us that we REALLY better get on the ground fast. The docs administer oxygen and an IV in back, we declare an emergency and speed like crazy to DFW. We’re on the ground in 8 minutes, we clear the runway and go right to our gate (arriving 15 minutes early). I make a PA for everyone to remain in their seats because paramedics will be coming on board to care for the ill passenger.

Now the kicker. After the paramedics come on board and are beginning to get the man onto a wheelchair, a lady stands up, looks at the captain and says “You know, I might miss my connecting flight if this keeps up.”

I am literally speechless. First of all, check your watch - we’re still ten minutes early. Secondly, a man is dying in back! Are we all so self-important now that someone dancing with the Grim Reaper takes a back seat to you making your connection?

Or am I just off-base here? Do any of you Dopers see yourself doing this in the same (or similar) situation? Do you know anyone who would? Or is the whole world just a bunch of me-first types now?

BTW, the man had melanoma (cancer) which had spread to his lungs, making it extremely difficult to breathe. He was unconscious by the time we landed, and was not doing well when they wheeled him up the jetbridge. I don’t know his status now.

Well, yeah, it was pretty callous.

A lot of people get very nervous when travelling and what might happen if they miss their flights. She was probably wondering what would happen and it was her not well thought-out way to inquire about the situation. Maybe she intended you to say, “Don’t worry…they’ll make sure you get on your next flight.”

She could have said (after the gentleman had been taken off the plane), “Excuse me, I hate to sound uncaring but can you tell me if we will might still be on schedule?” That would have been enough for you to get that she had a connecting flight.

Because I can’t tell her tone, I’m not sure. My basic response, though, is that yes, she could have been more tactful and considerate of the ill gentleman.


I wouldn’t have said that. I would have thought, “Cool, we’re 10 minutes early!” :slight_smile:

Seriously, yeah, what she said did sound callous. Was the captain doing anything? Maybe she was kidding…

You’re not off base.

I would never do such a thing.

We may not have a whole world of “me first” types, but they’re taking over.

Thanks for the replies.

To clarify, during one of the PA’s made after landing the flight attendants mentioned that we were early…not that anyone actually listens to the PA’s anymore!

And neither the captain or I were doing anything but standing in the door to the cockpit.

I’m sure that many people had thoughts about their connections while sitting on the ground. But to me it seems like a pretty large step to go from thinking about it (along with other things like “I hope that guy’s OK”) to complaining about it. If I was riding in back and the person next to me grumbled about their connection I would think “What an jerk.” But she announced it to the entire front of the airplane.

OK, I’m done venting. It’s just frustrating to bust your butt getting down early and scrambling to the gate to try to save someone’s life only to hear someone gripe about their connection. Other than that, it was a beautiful day to fly!

You people are all much nicer than I am. She is a bitch.

You’re on beam. I’d like to think at least the majority of us would willingly miss a connection if it meant saving a life.

Of course, there are a fair amount of people to whom the rules do not apply.

[sub]I know, I know…, who think the rules do not apply[/sub]

I had a similar incident happen when I worked in retail pharmacy. If I tell the whole story my head will explode, even this 12 years later.

-Man had a heart attack several aisles over in the grocery/pharmacy I worked at as a tech.

-CPR certified Pharmacist runs over to help him, leaving me alone in the pharmacy and unable to process prescriptions for a few minutes.

-Biggest asshole ever on earth comes up and rants for about 10 minutes about how Goddamned inconvenient this is and how unprofessional the pharmacist is, blah, blah, precious time, blah, blah- shouting at me all the while.

-I about burst a blood vessel I was so pissed off. My mind could not make the connection that this man was saying what he was saying. I got an instant migraine headache because my blood pressure shot up so high so fast.

  • Pharmacist came back and shoved his prescription bottle up the jerks ass. (I wish)

So I’ve witnessed similar callous behavior. Some people really do not care at all about anyone else. It’s ALL about them.

Yes, callous.

I suspect she was thinking ‘Poor man. Pity there’s nothing I can do. But, since there’s nothing I can do, I might as well not miss m flight.’ (though obviously it might have been ‘kill him now and I’ll eat the body’ or ‘I’ll just offer to help… damn speach impediment’ )

Since she was at the front and the paramedics were at the rear, why not just let her off? People who travel infrequently, especially by air to unfamiliar destinations do tend to get a littl panicky and nervous,get her out of there.

Maybe she was kidding. People have been whistling past the [potential, in this instance] graveyard as long as there have been graves, to assuage their natural fear of death.

I wouldn’t judge her too harshly, but it was still inappropriate.

This is not possible, as anyone who flies regularly can attest to. If I let ONE passenger start gathering up her stuff and get off the airplane, everyone else will see it as their cue to get up and start gathering their belongings. Once one person starts, it’s a free-for-all and there is no going back.

Besides, it only takes ONE person to block the aisle and prevent the paramedics from getting the man off the airplane. They were only on the airplane for five minutes - that’s how long it took them to stabilize the man, get him in a wheelchair and off the airplane. They had stretcher for him on the jetbridge which they used and began treating him.

So, no, this is not workable. If I let the lady who complained get off the airplane I’m not only reaffirming that her next flight is more important than this sick man, but that she is also more important than EVERYONE ELSE on the airplane.

Nope. Not gonna do it. Let me reiterate that the paramedics were only on board for five minutes; this lady complained after about two minutes. She was STILL early when it was all over.

No, not just you. Unbelievably callous behaviour.

But I agree, the world is going to shit in this manner. Like the dickwads who race emergency vehicles to intersections - 'How convenient! The traffic has all pulled over - just to make my drive to work faster! Now, I just need to get there before that fire engine … ’


Of course, one factor that hasn’t been examined yet is - how long of a wait did she have before her connecting flight? If she had a matter of minutes - even twenty - then the remark was, at worst, callous, and at best a case of flyer’s nerves (as mentioned by Tiburon) expressing itself inappropriately.

If she had time to window-shop, grab a steak and a brew, and thumb through a couple of magazines at the newsstand - then hell yeah, there’s no excuse for that.

But, since probably not even pilot141 has that kind of info, we’re never really going to be sure.

Aside: I suppose someone quicker on their feet could have asked her when her connecting flight was and assured her they would do everything possible to make sure she caught it if she really was pressed for time. Unless she had time to kill, in which case the proper response would be “Siddown, lady, or they’ll be wheeling you out next.” :wink:

I’ve had a couple of situations like that.

In a movie theatre, I walking through the house because it is crowded and I’m making sure people are not taking up seats with their coats and such. A woman motions to me and her husband is not feeling well. He is clutching his chest and even though IANAMD I’m pretty sure the man is having a heart attack. Then from across the asile comes a an actual heart surgeon. He tells me to call an ambulance which I go do. I come back and annouce to the house that this man is ill and that the medics are coming and the show will be delayed a few minutes till we get this guy who is having a heart attack out of the theatre.

You would have thought that I eaten a live baby. ‘Aww just pick him up and put him in the lobby!’ “I think I should get two free passes to come back again for the inconvience.” and so on all shouted at me and he and his wife can plainly hear all of this as well.
The second did not happen to me but I know for a fact that it did happen.

Picture a movie theatre on Sunday night. It’s a single screen and the last show is about to start. Except that it does not start. So a couple of patrons come out and complain when it’s about 5 min late. Mangager calls to booth but there is no answer. She goes up there and the projectionist is dead.

So the manager has to cancel the show. Everybody gets a refund and a free movie pass to come again. They all know why the show is not going to go on but do they behave like a co-worker of the manager just died? Oh no, “What about my popcorn? You should refund that?” Well you did eat some of it and you are getting a free movie pass. “What about my babysitter? or my parking?” “Why can you just start it? Just go up and press play?”

Pretty darn callous.

I used to work at a mom-and-pop convenience store. One afternoon, a man walked through the door, and dropped dead of what we later found out was a brain anuerism.

Panic amongst we workers ensued. One called an ambulance, another checked his pulse, and said he wasn’t breathing either. No one knew CPR, but we were afraid to attempt it, because we’d heard that you can actually hurt people if it’s performed incorrectly, and the fire station was only a few blocks away. No one knew what to do, except that we probably should not move the guy, even though he was lying half-in, and half-out of the doorway.

During this confusion, people were coming into the store. To my utter amazement, people stepped over the man’s prone body with barely a glance, and calmly asked for their cigarettes and lottery tickets. Only one person asked if the man was alright.

Another time, a man had a heart attack in our parking lot. This time, one of my co-workers was a volunteer paramedic and knew what to do, but refused because she said he might have a disease. The man died before help could arrive. Again, customers drove their cars around the man’s body to get to the gas pumps, and one even asked me if we could push him out of the way.

Olentzero , I may be slow on my feet but I’m pretty quick-witted!:wink:

And, once again, if we had been LATE someone (most likely me) would have made a PA about connections. But we were EARLY - when the lady griped we still had 12 minutes until our SCHEDULED arrival time.

I’m sorry, but until we’re actually LATE I’m more concerned with the man who’s dying than with scheduled connections.

pilot - my apologies if my aside came across as somehow faulting you for your response or anything else. Far from it. It was just a random thought. :slight_smile:

Olentzero - no worries!:wink:

After reading these replies, I find that I’m unfortunately not alone in experiencing this “me first” attitude. Stepping over an unconscious man to get your lottery tickets? Griping about popcorn when the projectionist dies in his booth? Unbelievable.

I hate to speculate, but I’d imagine that these same people will expect all KINDS of sympathy when they are sick, hurt, etc. Just don’t get in their way when it’s YOU who’s in trouble!

Sorry, but Bwahahahaha!! That’s funny shit.