When you’re traveling, there are lots of experiences to look forward to–and several things that can be so frustrating, they threaten to put a damper on your trip. But we’re willing to bet a baby crying isn’t on your top ten list of reasons to botch an entire vacation; however, that’s exactly what happened last week when a man and his wife were traveling to Florida.
A grown man’s expletive-filled, high-volume rant aboard a Southwest Airlines flight bound for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida made him an internet sensation almost overnight.
Mark Grabowski, a passenger aboard the flight where the scene played out, recorded a video of the situation and says that things were uncomfortable on the plane. Apparently, the angry passenger only added to the discomfort.
“It was a little bumpy and uncomfortable for everyone, and the child was upset, but we couldn’t get up because of the weather, and we were strapped in our seats,” said Grabowski in an interview with FOX 35. “Just out of nowhere, this other passenger in the video basically said, ‘shut that baby up,’ and it escalated from there.”
During the flight, the weather was bad, and the Boeing 737 was forced to remain in a holding pattern, making it imperative that passengers not get up from their seats on the plane. Tensions ran high as a baby began crying and remained unconsoled for–according to the irate passenger–more than 45 minutes. The man, who had a window seat next to his wife, was sleeping and was then awakened by the baby. Apparently, it was simply more than the man could personally handle.
“Can you calm the child down, please?” the man can be heard asking the flight attendants. “I had headphones on. I was sleeping.” The man goes on to raise his voice before nearly yelling at flight attendants, to whom he repeatedly said, “I bought a ticket too!”
Grabowski says that Southwest Airlines flight attendants were quick to do their part in attempting to diffuse the situation and sprang into action, re-seating the woman holding the crying baby in another area on the aircraft. But things only got worse in the cabin of the Southwest Airlines jet. The angry passenger only got more angry, more enraged, and then began shouting profanities. At one point in the video, the baby can be heard crying while the man continues his anger-fueled tirade, almost as if he were in competition with the child.
“Why is the baby yelling? I’m not screaming. You want me to scream? You want me to scream? I’ll [expletive] scream. Please stop the baby,” the man can be heard saying to flight attendants. “We are in a [expletive] tin can with a baby in a [expletive] echo chamber. If you want to talk to me about being [expletive], OK.”
The man became uncontrollable, and in one clip from the video, his wife, seated next to him, tries to bury her face in her hands.
“We are not in Florida yet,” the angry passenger says, “You cannot do what the [expletive] you feel like.”
At various times throughout the ordeal, Southwest Airlines crewmembers attempted to talk calmly with the man, but to no avail. Eventually, one flight attendant was forced to tell another attendant to contact the authorities as the situation only continued to escalate. The plane was forced to divert to Orlando International Airport (MCO) so that the situation could be diffused by law enforcement.
Grabowski says that the Southwest crew gave the angry man two choices once the plane landed at Orlando International. He could get off the plane first, or he could wait, and after every other passenger had disembarked, he could be forcibly removed by police officers. Apparently, he likes police officers.
“He chose the latter, and we all got off the plane, and there was a lot of mumbling past him,” Grabowski explained.
While Southwest Airlines would not comment on details pertaining to the situation inside the aircraft, the company did commend its crew for the way they handled the very difficult scenario.
“We commend our crew for exhibiting outstanding professionalism while handling a challenging situation, and we offer our apologies to the other customers onboard who had to experience such unacceptable behavior,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement.
The Orlando Police Department confirmed to FOX 35 Orlando that officers escorted the angry passenger off the aircraft and said that no arrests were made.
Perhaps the kindest person onboard was the one behind the camera–Mark Grabowski–who said the man needed an extra measure of compassion.
“I don’t really know what everyone is going through; it doesn’t portray him in good light, but maybe he is going through something, and we gotta give everyone a little sympathy,” he said.