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3-year-old unnerves airline [Girl taken off flight for crying too much]
Telegram.com ^ | 01/21/07 | Dianne Williamson

Posted on 01/22/2007 10:51:57 AM PST by MotleyGirl70

Meet Elly Kulesza, Terror Toddler.

In her finer moments—mainly when she’s on land — 3-year-old Elly is an adorable and sweet-mannered child, a blue-eyed charmer who likes to dance and harbors a particular fondness for Thomas the Tank Engine.

“She’s a typical 3-year-old,” said her mother, Julie Kulesza of 7 Primrose St. in Worcester. “She has her moments like all 3-year-olds, but she’s not like one of those ‘Nanny 911’ children you see on TV.”

Elly’s dad, Gerald Kulesza, is a full-time EMT in Boston who also attends nursing school full time, and he did so well last semester that Elly’s mom surprised her husband with a trip to Florida to visit his parents, who live in Bonita Springs. So on Jan. 11, the family flew from Logan Airport to Fort Meyers on AirTran Airways, and even though it was Elly’s first plane trip she behaved like a dream and spent most of the flight coloring in her coloring book and watching movies on a portable DVD player.

“She was great,” her mom remembered. “When we made our descent into Florida we could see the water and she shouted, ‘Look, mommy, there’s the beach where we go swimming,’ and everyone laughed.”

Yes, it was a heartwarming moment for all concerned, and the trip was great, too. The family swam and went sightseeing, and on Jan 14 they drove back to the airport for the return trip home. They checked their luggage — a suitcase and a car seat. As they waited for their flight to be called, Elly contentedly munched on a bag of Cheetos and watched out the window as the planes took off and landed.

Then came … The Boarding. Suddenly and without warning, angelic little Elly morphed into every parents’ nightmare.

Her mom thinks it may have been because of the ear surgery Elly underwent earlier this month, and perhaps her memory of the discomfort and ear pressure she endured during the plane’s descent into Florida. For whatever reason, when they got on the plane, Elly started to cry and wouldn’t stop. Nor would she sit down — she plopped herself down on the floor in front of her seat and proceeded to throw a temper tantrum.

“I was trying to console her and the stewardess came over and said, ‘Did you buy that seat for her?’ remembers Ms. Kulesza, 31, who is four months pregnant. “I said yes, and she told me my daughter needs to sit in it. I told her I was trying.”

Moments later, an AirTran Airways employee armed with a walkie-talkie addressed Mr. Kulesza.

“Sir, you need to get her under control,” she said.

“We’re trying,” Mr. Kulesza noted.

The passengers, meanwhile, were quite understanding and one of them offered the toddler a lollipop, which she rejected. Then the walkie-talkie woman returned to the Kuleszas’ aisle and displayed the raw tact and diplomacy of Donald Trump.

“Sir, you need to get off the plane,” she announced.

“What?” a stunned Mr. Kulesza asked. “Are you serious?”

“Sir, you need to get off the plane now.”

They got off the plane, while their luggage and car seat flew on to Boston. In the terminal they were directed to an AirTran supervisor, who told the couple that the stewardess was uncomfortable “because you have an unruly child who struck a woman on board.”

Mr. Kulesza was incredulous. “That was her mother,” he explained. “She hit her on the arm. Lady, this is a 3-year-old child we’re talking about.”

“Sir, we don’t differentiate between 3 and 33,” the AirTran supervisor replied. Mr. Kulesza said the woman proceeded to lecture him about child discipline, and how she would never tolerate her children behaving in such a manner, at which point Mr. Kulesza said, “You really need to stop talking now.”

The couple were also told that, since they had been ejected from the plane, they were banned from flying with AirTran for 24 hours. So they were forced to return to Bonita Springs for the night, and Mr. Kulesza missed a 16-hour work shift, and the next day they returned to the airport and can surely be forgiven if they fed their daughter enough Children’s Benadryl to fell a stallion. I exaggerate, perhaps, but it’s certainly what I would have done. In any case, Elly slept through the return flight home.

The incident has sparked varied responses from those who heard the story. While many people — mostly parents — sympathize with the Kuleszas, others are less inclined. For example, when I related the tale to an unnamed colleague and asked if he had ever heard of an airline bouncing a child from a flight he said, “No, but I’m all for it. Couldn’t they have checked her with the baggage?”

This colleague, as it happens, has no kids.

AirTran, meanwhile, has apparently had a change of heart. After the airline received a phone call Thursday from yours truly, an AirTran customer service rep called the Kuleszas, apologized profusely for the incident and refunded them the $595 cost of their tickets.

“We do believe the situation could have been handled differently,” said AirTran spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver. “We will use this case as a means to train our agents on dealing with this type of situation on our flights … While there are FAA regulations that mandate all passengers have to be securely fastened in their seat belts before a plane can depart, we need to work with our customers in situations like this to help them — and that is what we will focus on.”

Ms. Kulesza is appreciative of the response, but believes she could have calmed her daughter down, if given the chance.

“It wasn’t like she had a bomb strapped to her waist,” she noted.

AirTran also extended another offer to the Kuleszas — free airline tickets to the destination of their choosing. The offer has been declined.

“I said I appreciated it, but I told them not to bother,” Ms. Kulesza said. “We won’t ever be flying with that airline again.”


TOPICS: Society
KEYWORDS: kidsonairplanes; travel
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1 posted on 01/22/2007 10:51:58 AM PST by MotleyGirl70
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To: MotleyGirl70

Best. Flight Crew. Ever.


2 posted on 01/22/2007 10:52:58 AM PST by Wolfie
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To: Wolfie

Parents should do what we did, invest in one of those portable DVD players and bring them on board a flight, it is a great way to keep the little ones calm during the flight.


3 posted on 01/22/2007 10:55:18 AM PST by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Championship U)
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To: dfwgator

How about ... don't bring young children on airplanes unless absolutely necessary


4 posted on 01/22/2007 10:57:32 AM PST by clamper1797 (Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque sed prime viduaribus)
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To: MotleyGirl70

If they can do it with one of them, why not ALL of them???


5 posted on 01/22/2007 10:59:06 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: dfwgator

I hate when little children have free reign in the aisleways.....running back and forth drives me crazy.


6 posted on 01/22/2007 11:01:30 AM PST by Suzy Quzy
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To: MotleyGirl70
AirTran also extended another offer to the Kuleszas — free airline tickets to the destination of their choosing. The offer has been declined.
“I said I appreciated it, but I told them not to bother,” Ms. Kulesza said. “We won’t ever be flying with that airline again.”

And I don't blame the Kuleszas. America West Airlines lost my business for a situation closely related to this. Right after Christmas 2000, the Mrs and I (the kids were not here yet,) were flying America West from Oakland to San Antonio, and we had a stop in Phoenix. When we boarded the plane in Phoenix, my wife and I took off our jackets and put them under the seats in front of us. Unbeknownst to us, the kid seating on the seat in front of my wife saw the jacket poke out, pulled it out, and handed it over to his parents, who called the stewardess and had it removed off the airplane. During the push away from the gate, my wife goes to check her jacket pockets, to make sure her gloves were still in...imagine her displeasure when she couldn't find the jacket!

We called for the stewardess, and we were told we couldn't do a thing, because the jacket was already off the aircraft and sent to the Lost and Found of Phoenix's airport!

Fast forward to the actual in-flight...I went to the stewardesses to try and figure out a way what the airline could do about this situation...next thing I know, my wife is there...seems one of the stewardesses called for her to come get me, because I was "getting violent towards them." They even threatened to land in El Paso and having me removed!!!

Needless to say, we have never again flown America West and I refuse to give them a penny.

7 posted on 01/22/2007 11:06:29 AM PST by JRios1968 (Tagline wanted...inquire within)
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To: MotleyGirl70

She was three. Isn't that small enough to pick up? It seems to me that these were the kind of parents who are afraid of traumatizing the little darling and find it preferable to let her sit in the aisle and scream. Were they from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, by any chance?


8 posted on 01/22/2007 11:09:33 AM PST by firebrand
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To: dfwgator
Parents should do what we did, invest in one of those portable DVD players and bring them on board a flight, it is a great way to keep the little ones calm during the flight.

You must have missed this part of the story:

So on Jan. 11, the family flew from Logan Airport to Fort Meyers on AirTran Airways, and even though it was Elly’s first plane trip she behaved like a dream and spent most of the flight coloring in her coloring book and watching movies on a portable DVD player...

9 posted on 01/22/2007 11:10:20 AM PST by JRios1968 (Tagline wanted...inquire within)
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To: MotleyGirl70

On my last trip to Florida a young mother started giving her three young children benadryl about 1/2 an hour before we were scheduled to take off. She caught me watching her and I thanked her. She laughed and said it was for her sanity as well.

They were angels. Sleeping angels.


10 posted on 01/22/2007 11:10:28 AM PST by Hoodlum91 (I support global warming.)
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To: clamper1797

They went to visit her GRANDPARENTS.


11 posted on 01/22/2007 11:12:48 AM PST by trillabodilla (Jesus Saves)
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To: trillabodilla
Was the trip necessary ... have you ever had to sit next to someones screaming child for a long flight ?

I have and it ain't fun

12 posted on 01/22/2007 11:15:12 AM PST by clamper1797 (Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque sed prime viduaribus)
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To: clamper1797

Ah, my son had a screaming child on his flight from Philly to Frankfurt, Germany. He still talks about the trauma! LOL


13 posted on 01/22/2007 11:20:21 AM PST by OldFriend (THE PRESS IS AN EVIL FOR WHICH THERE IS NO REMEDY)
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To: MotleyGirl70

I experienced a similar meltdown from my son (now 5) a few years ago. This was on Southwest so we were amongst the first to board and his screams could be heard all the way back to the lounge. I managed to get him strapped in for the roll-back and by the time we were cleared for takeoff he'd spent himself and was fast asleep.

It was, however, the first and last Southwest flight I've ever seen that loaded from back to front.

Kids that age can be tricky. For the return flight he was a complete darling!


14 posted on 01/22/2007 11:21:24 AM PST by Filo (Darwin was right!)
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To: OldFriend
I used to travel between the coasts bi monthly. If there were a small child on the flight it was always my great fortune to have the seat next to them. One can be a cross between Mother Teresa and Mr Rodgers at the start of the flight and be turned into a raving lunatic by the end of it.

Don't bring small children to the opera or plays or on airplanes unless absolutely necessary and IMHO visiting the grandparents ain't good enough reason

15 posted on 01/22/2007 11:25:31 AM PST by clamper1797 (Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque sed prime viduaribus)
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To: clamper1797
How about ... don't bring young children on airplanes unless absolutely necessary I would consider taking the family on vacation would qualify. How about...maybe if you don't like hearing a kid cry, then you should get off of the plane.
16 posted on 01/22/2007 11:27:46 AM PST by SF Republican
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To: clamper1797

I've only flown once (a long time ago) so I'm not an expert at what people go through when flying. However, I've sat next to screaming kids when out to dinner and it makes for a very unpleasant meal.


17 posted on 01/22/2007 11:28:48 AM PST by MotleyGirl70
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To: clamper1797
How about ... don't bring young children on airplanes unless absolutely necessary

How about everyone with kids stays locked in the basement until the kids are 20? What were they supposed to do? The kid was fine on the flight to their destination. How were they supposed to know the kid was going to throw a fit? Were they supposed to say "OK, I think the kid is gont to cry today, I guess we'll just cancel our return home & I'll miss my work tomorrow?"

It's impossible to know when a 3-year-old is going to go off. It happens.

Maybe they could have picked the kid up & walked around to calm them, but it sounds like the stewardess wanted that kid strapped in its seat. Which probably would not have helped calm the kid at all.

18 posted on 01/22/2007 11:29:56 AM PST by gubamyster
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To: SF Republican

Yup ... there is always someone who thinks that the rest of us should suffer their brats


19 posted on 01/22/2007 11:30:38 AM PST by clamper1797 (Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque sed prime viduaribus)
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To: MotleyGirl70

I hate all airlines, airline procedures, and every last airline employee I have ever encountered.


20 posted on 01/22/2007 11:32:31 AM PST by Flightdeck
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To: OldFriend

My husband was on a long flight like that, and got a frown from the stewardess with the drinks cart when he offered to buy the baby a Bourbon-and-Similac.


21 posted on 01/22/2007 11:34:17 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: clamper1797
Yup ... there is always someone who thinks that the rest of us should suffer their brats

And they are sooo tolerant when you scream and cry right back at their child.

22 posted on 01/22/2007 11:35:03 AM PST by Niteranger68 (The United States is a safe haven for all cultures……except its own.)
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To: gubamyster

Hyberbole not withstanding ... children 5 and older are usually ok on airplanes


23 posted on 01/22/2007 11:35:31 AM PST by clamper1797 (Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque sed prime viduaribus)
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To: Hoodlum91

A friend of mine did that to his kids for a flight from Guam to the U.S. He said many passengers and flight attendants thanked him profusely.


24 posted on 01/22/2007 11:36:10 AM PST by Muzzle_em (A proud warrior of the Pajamahadeen)
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To: clamper1797

Yep, there are always some that are somewhat selfish and think even in a public setting they should not be disturbed. The little ones are children, children cry. Calling them degrading names does not change that.


25 posted on 01/22/2007 11:37:18 AM PST by SF Republican
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To: JRios1968
I was "getting violent towards them."

I do not doubt that for ONE minute.

26 posted on 01/22/2007 11:39:29 AM PST by teenyelliott (Soylent green should be made outta liberals...)
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To: SF Republican

Try taking your squalling kid to a public library and see how long you last


27 posted on 01/22/2007 11:41:27 AM PST by clamper1797 (Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque sed prime viduaribus)
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To: teenyelliott

And yet, you'd be wrong!

I wasn't getting violent...I wasn't even raising my voice, certainly not over the level needed to make yourself heard in the rear of a 737. Screw 'em.


28 posted on 01/22/2007 11:43:01 AM PST by JRios1968 (Tagline wanted...inquire within)
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To: SF Republican; clamper1797

The new parents definition of selfish: Not allowing yourself to disturbed by someone else's children.


29 posted on 01/22/2007 11:43:40 AM PST by Niteranger68 (The United States is a safe haven for all cultures……except its own.)
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To: RacerF150

Exactly ... how very selfish ... of me ...


30 posted on 01/22/2007 11:45:49 AM PST by clamper1797 (Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque sed prime viduaribus)
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To: SF Republican
How about...maybe if you don't like hearing a kid cry, then you should get off of the plane.

That is the attitude that explains the hostility towards the children.
Although in this case it may not be true, the "it's all about me and my kids and screw the rest of you" attitude is universally unacceptable --- and much too common.

31 posted on 01/22/2007 11:49:10 AM PST by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: Hoodlum91
On my last trip to Florida a young mother started giving her three young children benadryl about 1/2 an hour before we were scheduled to take off. She caught me watching her and I thanked her. She laughed and said it was for her sanity as well.

We did that to our two year old coming out of Johannesburg headed for London. She screamed for 3 hours and then passed out. She had never been a problem before but we were trying to do our best to make sure. I guess the drug didn't work as suggested. Perhaps to make some of the asses on this thread happy we should have just left her in Africa after the job ended.

32 posted on 01/22/2007 11:50:51 AM PST by HoustonCurmudgeon
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To: clamper1797
I would not take my child anywhere when they are "squalling". When one is on an airplane flight ones options are greatly diminished. Lets discuss this issue before you start bringing up all of the places one should NOT take their child. Or we can just accept that you are intolerant of the plight of others in this scenario.
33 posted on 01/22/2007 11:51:30 AM PST by SF Republican
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To: gubamyster
but it sounds like the stewardess wanted that kid strapped in its seat.

Not so much her as FAA regulations. Not the least of which would probably be the airline's insurance carrier. I can see the lawsuit now from the parents if something happened to that child because it had not be properly strapped in it's seat.

34 posted on 01/22/2007 11:51:41 AM PST by AxelPaulsenJr (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.)
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To: MotleyGirl70

I'm disgusted by parents who can't discipline their children. Any 3 year old who hits her mother, as this child did, has not been raised properly.

The other night at dinner there were three children running around, standing on chairs, and shrieking. The parents were ignoring them. At one point it got so bad the entire restaurant just stopped and turned toward the kids.

One of the fathers announced with a smile, "Folks, we're leaving soon." I responded in a very loud voice, "We're all hoping."

I loved the shocked look on the father's face! They left immediately.


35 posted on 01/22/2007 11:52:44 AM PST by ladyjane
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To: linda_22003

LOL....I think your hubby had the right idea!


36 posted on 01/22/2007 11:53:27 AM PST by OldFriend (THE PRESS IS AN EVIL FOR WHICH THERE IS NO REMEDY)
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To: clamper1797
If there were a small child on the flight it was always my great fortune to have the seat next to them

My good furtune is to get the morbidly obese passenger next to me.

37 posted on 01/22/2007 11:54:14 AM PST by AxelPaulsenJr (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.)
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To: clamper1797

I have, too; I always try to put myself in their shoes. Sure it's irritating, but being a parent, you try to understand.

Same at the supermarket and restaurants- when a child is throwing a hum-dinger, I usually think- been there, done that, poor mom.


38 posted on 01/22/2007 11:54:36 AM PST by trillabodilla (Jesus Saves)
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To: HoustonCurmudgeon

Yes there are some asses out there who can't tell the difference between a necessary trip like leaving Africa where having small children would be acceptable and an unnecessay trip like visiting the grandparents


39 posted on 01/22/2007 11:55:37 AM PST by clamper1797 (Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque sed prime viduaribus)
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To: Publius6961
I certainly did not mean to insinuate its all about me and my kids, my point is just the opposite: if the passenger is upset then they should make other arrangements. If I don't like something happening then I can do something about it not demand the "offending party" do what I want them to do. Do you feel if a child starts crying on a plane then the parents should disembark if that is what one other passenger wants? Do you really think there is a hostile attitude towards children?
40 posted on 01/22/2007 11:58:05 AM PST by SF Republican
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To: AxelPaulsenJr

I realize the plane can't move until everyone is in their seats. It just seems they could have let the parents walk around holding the child for a few minutes to see if the kid calmed down.


41 posted on 01/22/2007 12:00:19 PM PST by gubamyster
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To: gubamyster

Well we weren't there and probably don't know that the airline in fact didn't give them some time to calm the child. From the sound of the story I would postulate that the child was totally out of control.


42 posted on 01/22/2007 12:03:18 PM PST by AxelPaulsenJr (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.)
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To: MotleyGirl70

Do the parents have some medical condition that made it impossible for one or both to pick the kid up off the floor?

The entire flight was held hostage because these parents couldn't force the kid into a seat. So what if she was screaming?? She could scream just as loud in the seat as on the floor. And if the flight had taken off with her sprawled on the floor, and she had been injured, her parents would have sued. Instead, they got a free flight because they couldn't control a 3 year old. Pretty clever of them.


43 posted on 01/22/2007 12:03:28 PM PST by Jrabbit ('scuse me??)
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To: gubamyster

They evidently couldn't do that. They couldn't manage to get her off the floor.


44 posted on 01/22/2007 12:04:57 PM PST by Jrabbit ('scuse me??)
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To: AxelPaulsenJr

I agree, I'd rather sit next to the small child than squeezed into 1/2 of a seat while someone takes up a seat and a half next to me.


45 posted on 01/22/2007 12:06:37 PM PST by Kaylee Frye
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To: SF Republican
I certainly did not mean to insinuate its all about me and my kids

You seem to do a pretty good job at it ...

46 posted on 01/22/2007 12:06:50 PM PST by clamper1797 (Per caritate viduaribus orphanibusque sed prime viduaribus)
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To: HoustonCurmudgeon

We had the same thing happen with us when our youngest was 2 1/2. We did give him Benedryl before we got on the plan, but it didn't make him sleepy. He screamed for 2 hrs straight. He finally cried himself to sleep on the cabin floor under my seat about 45 minutes before we landed.

Luckily, we had some really great people around us. All of them had "been there and done that".

I think this thread shows the hostility that our society has towards children. It's coated in the niceties of complaining about manners, but it's really about lack of acceptance.

Sometimes, even the best behaved children will act like children.


47 posted on 01/22/2007 12:07:39 PM PST by Aggie Mama
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To: Hoodlum91

*taking notes*


48 posted on 01/22/2007 12:08:20 PM PST by RockinRight (To compare Congress to drunken sailors is an insult to drunken sailors. - Ronald W. Reagan)
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To: Kaylee Frye
Whenever I get seated next to a small child I quite often find myself thinking of W. C. Fields. LOL


49 posted on 01/22/2007 12:09:20 PM PST by AxelPaulsenJr (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.)
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To: SF Republican

Some cry more than others, I've found.


50 posted on 01/22/2007 12:10:22 PM PST by RockinRight (To compare Congress to drunken sailors is an insult to drunken sailors. - Ronald W. Reagan)
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