An open letter to the guy in the Frankfurt airport who tried to cut in front of me and then yelled at me...


Hi, yah, it's been a hot day, I know, and the airport appears to be ill equipped to handle the actual volume of people. Trust me, I was pretty shocked when I saw how long the security line was to enter the Luftansa terminal. In fact, I would suspect that most of the mob of people in line were feeling a little bit punchy. I, for one, have only had a couple hours of sleep in the past 36 hours and have spent most of that time in weather that would make your average steam room seem like Siberia.

I admit it, I do, indeed have business class tickets, which, obviously, makes me a bad person, this goes without saying. And, indeed, I AM American which means I have no apparent social graces and I'm selfish. It's all so very obvious.

You see, this is where my logic failed me (it’s because all we Americans watch only American Idol and eat McDonalds) what bothered me was that I was standing in the First Class/Business Class line for security and I'd been waiting there, with the folks I was traveling with, for quite a while. My bags were heavy and when you and your wife decided to skip the process of waiting in line and begin to wheedle your way in between the party with whom I was traveling, and me, I didn't think it was terribly inappropriate to, noticing your economy tickets, point out the line to which you may wish to proceed to.

Your reply, something along the lines of "What, do YOU have first class tickets?" was certainly a valid question, I'm just not so sure that it supported your argument to then berate me for having the correct tickets for the line. When you then asked why I mentioned which line you should be in, and I pointed out that you had just tried to cut in front of me, saying "The plane won't leave any faster because someone cut in front of you." Didn't strike me as a compelling argument. The fact that you were now yelling at me, though, did garner us plenty of the spotlight.

I noted your change of tact though, asking me how I "KNEW" that I had been cut in front of, was certainly a novel approach, but when I then pointed out that you cut between me and the other people with whom I was traveling, it may have been a good time for you to simply let the subject drop. It sort of surprised me that, instead, you used this as an opportunity to verbalize for several minutes, in monolog format, what you felt Americans would be inclined to do about the situation. You see, I had no idea that Americans, once in their own country, were prone to engaging in citizens' arrests for such infractions. I also didn't realize that quietly pointing out that you had cut in front of me was a far greater social infraction than the cutting itself. It's good that I have you, the Frankfurt Goodwill Ambassador, to enlighten me.

It was particularly charming to have you go on at length despite the fact that I had turned my back to you and proceeded on with my life, without ever needing to raise my voice.

It's was so useful to know that by following rules, keeping myself composed and generally respecting other people's personal rights as I would my own, that I had shown myself for the ugly American that I am. I'm sure that the many other patrons in front of whom you cut, were pleased that you had put me in my place.

Thank you guy in the Frankfurt airport who tried to cut in front of me and then yelled at me, you are a true humanitarian.


You slay me. I am a much uglier American than you are. Running on that little sleep, with that much baggage, I would've slugged the guy. Good for you for avoiding what could have been an ugly security situation!

I miss you. If you have the enrgy, go over and see my new blog design. I love it. And I took your advice - it isn't finished, just functional!

So, was Mr. GoodWill Ambassador German? Jeezopete. I would probably have fixed him, probably by bursting into tears and sobbing inconsolably.

(I get stressed out in crowded situations like that.)

funny, i just digitally rifled through pictures chronically my first trip out of the u.s. and i have the same picture of the stick men running with arrows. i remember looking at it, ironically one above the other, running opposite directions thinking, this is how it's gonna go. the uncertainty of what is next is the best thing about travelling, sometimed the contact with others not so good. good luck on your trip.

Well, gee, you know that by, say, STANDING there you were probably being an obnoxious American. It was probably the posture, or maybe you were breathing in more than your fair share of air. Because, clearly, from what you said, I think you were entirely in the wrong and he DESERVED to stand in front of you on line. Because you're American and he was not. I mean, of course!

You realize of course that I was being sarcastic . . . There ARE Ugly Americans out there giving our country a bad reputation, but I think there are just as many non-Americans who only see the U.A. when they see someone from the USA, regardless of how polite, civil, patient, charming they actually are. People see what they want to see . . . it's just a shame that so many people want to see ugliness and rudeness when it's not actually in front of them. Unlike, say, a German pushing in front of you in line. That kind of defines "rudeness in front," doesn't it? Good for you for not letting it push you into reciprocal rudeness. And, welcome home.

Good for you! If each of us displayed such style and class, there would be an eventual turn in the Ugly American tide.

BTW, the roving and the sock yarn arrived. Thank you so much!!

UGH! Some people...

Wow. Just wow. You definitely handled yourself with grace - letting someone go ahead and make a fool out of himself is always the high road. :)

Good grief. Sounds like you handled yourself with dignity, as usual- good for you!

I'm shaking my head right now - who does this guy think he is? I think some people feel it is their personal mission to be miserable to the rest of the world. Good for you for showing him a classy way to behave.

Oh, Marnie. I'm so sorry, but you handled yourself with such aplomb. I wish people thought "Ugly American" meant dignifed, beautiful women who sometimes photograph badly. Chin up, world traveler!

It is so strange to be treated as a a stereotype but so satisfying to not wear the stereotype. You handled yourself very well and probably threw him for a loop by not responding in an "Ugly American" type way! Good on ya.

Good for you for being assertive and calm. I thing your composed, and matter of fact responce infuriated him and he was trying to get your goat so HE wouldn't look like such a dip. Hope you get some nice rest soon.

As a regular reader of your blog I apologize in the name of all germans who have their senses together...! We´re not all like that. Thumbs up for staying so calm. I would probably have shed MANY tears of rage...

I am sorry to hear that... That's terrible. I would have like to kick that man for you.

ooh, that makes me mad. Well done you for keeping calm and speaking up. Different countries have different ideas about queuing but the tirade from the crazy guy was completely unreasonable. Are you back now? Did you have a fabulous time? I changed my email


Jerk! What a way to end a trip. I am not surprised that you were calm and collected. Good for you!

Glad you are home!

Wow, terribly sorry that the last leg of your trip sucked so bad. I can only hope that I would have been able to handle myself with such grace as you did.

People who cut in line are on par with people who litter. Jaw-droppingly bad human beings who just do inexplicably rude things. I can almost understand someone robbing houses or going on some crazy spree of violence, but I will never understand litterers or line-cutters. I'm not even kidding.

ooh, aren't some of the people we meet while traveling just outrageous? And those of us who travel a lot, meet a lot of them.

Sorry for this happening in my native country (by a co-national?). As said above: we are not all like that.

I once had a guy sitting next to us on the plane, who talked to the cabin attendant as if I didn't exist, insisting that I liberate the middle seat (that I had paid for)... And, for the record, he was Canadian (and somehow assumed I wouldn't understand English because my son and I were talking German and French to each other).

Why can't people like that just charter private jets or walk or swim across the pond? Argh.

Hope it's going better this time 'round.

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This page contains a single entry by Marnie published on July 9, 2006 4:56 AM.

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