The Kid, The Plane, and Air Traffic Control
I was a pilot for JetBlue Airways, on final approach to JFK International. It was the final leg in a very long day, when I called the tower and had the following conversation:
JETBLUE: “JFK this is JetBlue 101 on 15 mile final for one-eight, request medical assistance at gate for sick passenger, non-emergency, JFK.”
TOWER: “Hi, JetBlue, this is Bobby. I’m 5. I'm in pre-K. I got sick once in school and it was not pretty. I got to go home for the rest of the day. My Mommy checked my temperature then gave me a 7-up. I like 7-up, but only when I'm sick.”
JETBLUE: “JFK, JetBlue 101, say again?”
TOWER: “I threw up, okay? Got sick stuff all over the floor and on my shoes, okay? The other kids laughed at me and made me cry, but my teacher, Ms. Blanchard, she told them to behave or she'd make THEM clean it all up. I had pizza and corn for lunch and it was everywhere. It smelled. I don't want to talk about it anymore.”
JETBLUE: “JFK, who am I talking to again?”
TOWER: “I’m Bobby and I’m in my Daddy’s tower. He went to go potty and left me in charge. He said, ‘Ok, little man, hold down the fort and I’ll be right back.’ Yep, that’s what he said, and I’m holding down the fort. Sometimes he brings me up to his tower and I just push the buttons for him. I like pushing buttons. I push, he talks. We're a team.”
JETBLUE: "JFK ... I mean, Bobby. I'm a pilot, in a big airplane with a lot of people depending on me to get them on the ground safely, and I think if your Dad doesn't come back soon, we're all going to be in a lot of trouble and..."
TOWER: "My Daddy won't get in trouble will he? Not MY Daddy, will he? He's the best Daddy in the world. He fixes me pizza, and when Mommy's asleep he let's me watch movies I shouldn't watch. And when Maynard Harrison was picking on me at school, he went over to beat up his Daddy, because Maynard said HIS Daddy could beat up MY Daddy, and then he punched me in the eyeball. I didn't see my Daddy for a few days after that, but everything turned out ok after Maynard's Dad dropped his charges. Or something like that."
TOWER: "Hey, you, pilot man, here's my Daddy. He's back from the potty. Have a nice..."
TOWER: "This is JFK. Sorry about that, guys. My kid didn't have school today and I couldn't just leave him at home, could I? Now, can you repeat your position again?"
And then I woke up.
Yes, indeed. What a nightmare. Good thing that could never happen in the REAL world!