Man Threatens to Break 7-Year-Old's Legs for Kicking His Seat on Plane

plane seatsWhen you're flying with fidgety kids, the occasional dirty look from fellow disgruntled passengers is to be expected. But few parents expect their child to be threatened with physical violence for acting up on a plane, which is exactly what happened to one 7-year-old when the man sitting in front of him said he would break the child's legs for kicking his seat!


Thirty-two-year-old Brett Walter John Gale of Brisbane was fined $750 for offensive and disorderly conduct on an August Virgin Australia flight -- but when you hear just how offensive and disorderly his conduct truly was, you might wish that fine was a bit higher.

Apparently the problems started shortly after the plane took off, when Gale became irritated because the kid in the seat behind him was moving around too much for his taste. He expressed his irritation by turning around and telling the child to "stop kicking the f***ing seat." Because it's essentially impossible for 7-year-olds to sit perfectly still for more than 30 seconds, Gale became increasingly annoyed with the family over the course of the flight; when the plane landed, he turned on the mother, saying, "They kicked the seat the whole time; discipline the little ­c***s."

Then he addressed the 7-year-old directly:

"Go on, kick the f***ing seat again and I will break your f***ing legs."

I can't even imagine how horrified and outraged the mom must have been at this point. Even the other passengers on the plane were concerned, with one man telling Gale to have "some control." Perhaps not surprisingly, Gale did not respond well to this common sense request; apparently, "Do you want to go out on the tarmac and have a go?" were his exact words (also not surprisingly, Gale turned out to have previous criminal record including burglary, assault, and willful exposure).

Thankfully no one actually got hurt in this ridiculous altercation, but that poor kid is no doubt traumatized for life. I don't know how hard the child was actually kicking Gale's seat, but in my experience as a mom, kids who are accused of "kicking" seats are usually just moving around in that none-too-subtle way of moving around that kids have -- they're not purposefully trying to kick the person in front of them. Is it still annoying for that person? Of course. But guess what? Every single adult was once a kid, which means that -- in my opinion -- every single adult is bound by human decency to show some tolerance of normal kid behavior. Never mind the fact that adults are just as guilty of making air travel miserable for other people as kids are. They take up more space, for one thing, and have longer limbs to shift around and bump into things with. Plus they snore.

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Like I said, I don't know how bad the "kicking" really was; it could be that this kid was the rare bad apple out on a mission to completely ruin a grown-up stranger's day. But even if that were the case, it still wouldn't excuse Gale's actions. I hope this family isn't afraid to fly in the future (and I hope Gale stays home from now on!).


Image via Christopher Doyle/Flickr

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