Enough complaining over crying babies on flights -- this is much, much worse. On a flight to Tampa, Florida, a woman had a screaming breakdown, and one of the passengers caught it on video. "God you're my savior!" she screams, over and over again, as if possessed. She also screams something about her mother having died recently. And when a man tries to calm her, she screams, "Don't f***ing touch me!" before resuming her religious rant.
We don't know much about the situation, just what the passenger tells us. The woman had been screaming for 20 minutes before he started recording. Thankfully toward the end of the video, the pilot announces that they're preparing to land -- the passengers will be out of their misery, soon. But it makes me wonder, what do you do when something like this happens on a flight? How do you cope?
This woman is obviously fodder for the Internet trolls, and I'm sure she was the target of hateful feelings on the flight. But I kind of feel sorry for her. No one wants to have a psychotic breakdown on an airplane. Grief and stress can trigger all sorts of strange things. We don't know anything about this woman's story, so I think a little compassion is a good place to start.
I don't think it's a good idea to get directly involved. This woman did not get violent, but you never know when someone having a breakdown might. Better to just stay out of their way or ask the flight attendants if there's something you could do. But did you notice the flight attendants weren't doing anything to the woman? It could be their standard procedure: Do not speak to or touch a person having a breakdown unless they cause other passengers physical harm.
It's probably more helpful to just try and be a source of chilled-out vibes. Practice some deep breathing. Smile sympathetically to your fellow passengers. Go to your happy place in your mind. And surrender to the realization that you can't change what's happening, only how you respond to it.
Maybe weep quietly to yourself in your seat, if that helps.
And then, after you've safely landed and disembarked, you have to tell someone. I can imagine posting this video must have been cathartic. "You'll never believe what happened to me today! It was horrible!" Sharing your horror story can help relieve some of the stress built up from such an awful experience.
What's the worst thing you've ever endured on a flight?
Image via Billy Hustace/Corbis