Elan Gale produces The Bachelor, in other words, he is a man of no discernible talent. Have you watched the show? It's awful. Like, terrible. Like, quite possibly the worst show ever, in the history of the universe. And I'm someone who
In theory, Thanksgiving is a time where you give thanks for your good fortune, it's an opportunity to spend time with loved ones you might not see on a regular basis. As a result, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Travel for anyone is stressful. The gist of the story is that Elan and Diane's flight was delayed, and Elan overheard Diane complaining to the flight crew that she might miss Thanksgiving with her family. I mean, the nerve, right? Yes, Elan, Diane wasn't the only person who would be inconvenienced by a delayed flight, and complaining about it to the staff was unlikely to resolve anything, but having no one else to talk to, perhaps venting to the staff about it made Diane feel a little better. Is that really such a crime? She wasn't tasered and hauled off the plane, so I'm going to assume that while her venting to the staff was probably an annoyance at most, it wasn't anything they don't hear about a billion times a day. The plane eventually took off, but rather than marking the end of Diane's misfortune, it marked the beginning of hours of harassment.
Elan Gale decided at this moment to become the champion of the flight crew (not that anyone asked him to get involved), and he decided it would be absolutely hilarious (hilarious!) to send Diane a glass of wine with a note intended to make her feel even worse than she clearly already did. At this point, the flight crew became involved, hand-delivering his 'gift'. The note was almost nice. Almost. It ended with Elan suggesting to Diane that if she drinks the wine, she won't be able to use her mouth to talk -- Elan was effectively telling a random, upset stranger to shut up.
Or course, the situation escalated from there. Diane didn't respond immediately, but that wasn't good enough for Elan. To further drive home his point, he walked by Diane, depositing two mini bottles of vodka onto her tray. At this point, Diane responded to Elan with a note of her own, essentially calling Elan out for his lack of compassion. Rather than backing down, Elan declared 'war', hand-delivering a note to Diane that culminated with an instruction for Diane to 'eat my dick'. Un. Fucking. Real.
A couple more notes were passed back & forth between Diane and Elan, with Diane commenting that Elan's behaviour was 'inappropriate beyond belief' (hello, it was!!! Completely inappropriate!!!! No random stranger should tell another random stranger to 'eat his dick'. No one!), and Elan once again magically working the word 'dick' into another note . After the plane landed, and everyone disembarked, Diane strode up to Elan at the airport, and slapped him. Probably not the best response, but I can't blame Diane. After being harassed by Elan (initially with the help of the flight crew) for a number of hours, her rage got the better of her. The fact Diane held her shit together on the plane is impressive, she probably handled the situation better than most. For this single retaliatory act, Diane was apprehended by airport security, guaranteeing that she would miss her connecting flight, ensuring she would miss Thanksgiving with her family. Elan's reaction? Pleasure at his ability to bring misery to another human being at Thanksgiving.
This story is all kinds of wrong for a number of reasons. Why the flight crew thought it was appropriate to send that first note is beyond me, never mind the issue that they were ferrying alcohol between passengers. Why Elan Gale didn't take the opportunity to show a little compassion to another traveller is a mystery, one would think Thanksgiving would be the perfect opportunity to perform a random act of kindness. Perhaps a smile and a show of sympathy would have turned Diane's day around. Why would people following along on Twitter continued to encourage Elan to escalate the situation, enjoying the misery inflicted on another person for the simple reason that she dared to express her feelings about a situation that was causing her distress (and seriously? I doubt this is why someone, somewhere, though it was a good idea to allow Wi-Fi on planes)?
As someone who has had the experience of missing a trip that I was really, really looking forward to, I can empathize with Diane. No, I didn't complain to the airport staff when I was in a similar situation (even though an Air Canada employee was 100% directly responsible for my misfortune), but I did commiserate with other travellers stuck in the same boat, and you know what? The complaining made me feel better. Rather than rolling their eyes at me, the other travellers were quite sympathetic, one even gave me her phone number and address in London, suggesting that if I couldn't work out the trip, I was welcome to stay with her for the weekend, essentially turning lemons into lemonade.
Elan Gale claims his behaviour was an attempt to 'stand up' for people working in the service industry, however, the reality is that Elan Gale used the unhappiness of a fellow traveller to provide his own inflight entertainment. It's unfortunate that no one else on the plane took the opportunity stand up for Diane, however, if anything good can come of this, perhaps it's the reminder that we should always take the opportunity to be nice to other people, showing them the same compassion and appreciation we would expect in return, a lesson that Elan Gale could stand to take to heart.
Update: As it turns out, there was a reason Diane was so distraught at the possibility of missing Thanksgiving with her family (and wearing a medical mask, and breathing loudly). Apparently Diane has terminal lung cancer. http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/11/bullying-at-35-thousand-feet/. I hope Elan Gale has the decency to issue an apology, along with everyone else who encouraged his behavior. How shameful.