A Belligerent Passenger

Drunk TravelerLast week after checking-in for my flight at the Jakarta (Indonesia) International airport and getting seated in the gate area with many other passengers, my attention was grabbed by a rather large man who was alternatively muttering and then talking loudly to seemingly no one in particular. This odd behavior was interrupted periodically by deep swigs of a clear liquid from a disposable cup.

When the gate personnel were not looking, this otherwise dignified man would open up the ribbon barriers, then wait for them to be reattached; and repeat the same thing again.

Eventually an airline employee came to talk with this man. Upon pouring the contents of his cup back into a thermos, the gentleman became quite belligerent. After much gesturing, the man calmed down and tried to kiss the employee!

It was obvious to all that this man had had too much alcohol to drink. Yet he gleefully filled his cup once more from the thermos, and drank again. Strangely, when boarding began he was assisted onto the plane. (I was praying he would not be my seat mate!) To my relief my seat was many rows to the rear of where he was seated. 

Shortly before take off we all noticed several uniformed security guards boarded the plane and came to this man’s row. With considerable difficulty they bodily removed him from the airplane, much to the relief of nearby passengers.

While I was glad to see him off the plane (the flight was 8.5 hours long), my heart went out to him. Was he lonely, sad, or in pain? I will never know. Yet the fact remains, he had lost control of his behavior due to the alcohol. 

Solomon, a king who had experienced his own problems with alcohol wrote in Scripture, “Wine makes you mean, beer makes you quarrelsome— a staggering drunk is not much fun.” (Proverbs 20:1).