Who has not found him- or herself on a plane with parents who stare listlessly out the window or sleep with headphones on while their offspring screams next to them, and thought some very bad thoughts? (Or at least thought, I could comfort that baby. Easy!) A Southwest flight attendant took matters into her own hands on a flight from Dallas to Albuquerque when she allegedly saw a mother slap her baby to stop her from crying. The flight attendant says she scooped up the 13-month-old, took her to the back of the plane, and rocked her gently to sleep as the child's parents continued to fight loudly in their seats. Once the plane landed, the baby was checked out by paramedics and returned to the couple. She'll be checked on again in two weeks.
Or at least that's the version of events being reported. In some reports, the father hit the baby. In others, the baby had a black eye explained by the parents as being "caused by an uncle's dog." Southwest's official statement is the one with implications that might most capture the imagination of frequent air travelers, however:
"What you read about the flight attendant taking the baby is not the case. She did it as a 'Would you like me to bounce your baby for you?'
The family on board was having an altercation and their young child was upset. Our flight attendant offered to the parent — offered to hold the child on board. Our attendants do that from time to time just to soothe the crying babies because they are used to walking up and down the aisles."
If that's true, that's pretty above-and-beyond of the flight attendants, who we learned last week are starting to snap under the stress of their duties. So here's an idea: Each plane should come equipped with an airline staff member whose entire job is to soothe babies! The Baby Soother's salaries could be paid for with the extra money the airlines get from more people choosing to fly in the new scream-free era, and it would create thousands of new jobs for unemployed Americans.
Or, you know, they could just hand out children's Benadryl at the gate.