I thought it was a boring work day; no cute boys, no funny passengers, nothing exciting to write about for my blog. Bummmmmmer. This thought of boringness crossed my mind with still an hour left in flight. A lot can happen in an hour. I should know this. A lot can happen in five minutes. And of course, it did.
The Michael Jackson look, one white-gloved hand, is popular with us flight attendants. It’s the standard picking-up-trash-look, and once again, I walked through the aisle carrying a white trash bag, my gloved hand reaching for passengers’ rubbish while smiling. (Why do I always smile so big when I pick up trash? I’m not THAT excited about it, really.)
Stopping at row 26: “Can I take…uh…umm…is that an emotional support animal?”
“I don’t know. It’s not mine.”
Not listening and instead thinking: I was supposed to know where all of the pets are on this flight. Captain will not be happy with me. I didn’t know there was a pet in this row. It’s not supposed to be in this row.
“Well, why is it in your lap? The dog needs to be under your seat. But, you can’t have it under your seat, because you are sitting behind the exit row.”
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“But, it’s not mine.”
“We need to move you and your dog…”
“But it’s not my dog! It was just walking up the aisle. It’s lost.”
Finally my ears register what the passenger has said. “Wait? What?! It’s not your dog? Who’s dog is it? Where did it come from?”
(laughing) “I don’t know.”
At this point, the two rows of people in front, and one row behind, have all removed their headphones and are listening to the exchange taking place. I’m sure that this sandy-haired blonde guy, with a subtle southern twang, and my ten exit row audience members, must have reached the conclusion that my blondeness might just fit the stereotype. Shouldn’t the flight attendant know what’s going on? Ummmm. Probably. Yes.
The unfolding event is funny, and not wanting the inflight entertainment to end too soon, I made a decision to play a joke on a girl located in the forward cabin. With a mischievious grin, and telling Mr. Southern Twang that I’d be right back, I march myself up to row 10.
(A tone of overexaggerated sweetness) “How are your drinks?”
“Oh very good thank you.”
“How is your puppy?” What kind of dog is it?”
“Oh she is good. She’s a Maltese.”
(wait..WHAT?! Smiling). “Oh, wonderful! Let me know if you need anything.”
I’m sure my confusion has registered. The mini-pooch baby-sat in the back of the plane was NOT a Maltese. The runaway did not have a luxurious white coat, and looked more like the twin of Taco Bell Celebrity. My plan was to shock this girl that her pet was missing, but now I’m the one surprised. I only knew the where-a-bouts of one pet on my flight, not two. I’m supposed to know where all of the pets are located. The Flight Attendant of The Year Award? Yep…that’s going to someone else.
I return to Mr. Southern Twang. I’m already giggling as he and his seat mates look up at me in rapt anticipation of what I am about to say. I repeat the conversation I had with Miss Maltese and the four of us, plus my exit row audience, laugh as I question, “So, I’m going to have to make an announcement over the PA that we have a runaway pet in the cabin? Just picture how that’s gonna go over!”
I’m not in a really big rush to figure out a solution to said problem and would rather revel in the humor. I’m supposed to make sure all pets are in their carriers, underneath their seats, and now I have a little Chihuahua prancing through the aisles, owner unknown. I’ve made missing wallet announcements, missing cellphones, ring your FA button if you left your keys at security, but, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s come to our attention that a little Chihuahua has escaped his pet carrier and has been meandering through the cabin. Are you missing Tippy?” This is a first.
About this time, the more senior flight attendant approached to inquire about the commotion. I am such a strong proponent of shared responsibility, and decided to be very unselfish and let her take charge. She walked her way back to the front, turned the lights to bright, and announced the missing pet, threatening impoundment if no one claimed the little guy. The passengers thought she was very angry, but I told them no, no, that she’s actually very nice. Two seconds after the announcement, the owner tentatively rang her flight attendant call button, claiming said runaway.
I carried the 5lb pooch to the owner, who promptly exclaimed, “Oh! How did he get out? And he crawled right out of his clothes too! Oh silly Tippy.” She then began re-dressing him in layers upon layers, and as I talked with her, I wondered the actual probability that the dog undressed himself with all of the straight jacket like attire. Whatever. I mean Taco Bell could talk, so who am I to judge?
(Apparently, Tippy is a therapy dog and the owner takes him to Children’s hospitals in the Southern California area. Tippy also has a Facebook fan page).