The New York Times published a piece today about a woman whose theatrical distress at missing her flight was recorded on a mobile phone by an [Airline] employee and posted onto YouTube by another person, where it has drawn nearly 5 million views and 18 comments as of this week. Some postings have added humiliating mock subtitles.[The Airline] have disciplined the employee involved and apologised to the woman for the embarrassment this has caused her. Since she has not sought compensation from the company, it would appear that an apology is all that she required. How refreshing.
I’m not going to link to the YouTube video, or the NYT article, or give the name of the airline concerned, or even checked the YouTube footage myself, and here’s why: I’ve been known to throw the odd wobbly myself when the fates appear to have conspired against me, when just one random disaster means that my carefully constructed deck of cards is falling around me. I may even have shed a tear or said a really, really bad word as I watched the train disappear in the distance and faced the fact that I’ve missed a Very Important Meeting.
I do not always behave with maximum dignity and reserve, and rely on the fact that I will have only a few witnesses who – hopefully – I’ll never have to meet again. And I really, honestly, firmly believe that – provided we are not abusing innocent officials or saying those bad words next to the ears of children – we should all be allowed to have a John Cleese style melt-down every so often without becoming the laughing stock of the world.
I realise the my desire for privacy puts me at odds with most of the reality-TV addicted world, and of course my belief that Facebook, YouTube et al should be moderated to protect the privacy of individuals may be impractical to implement. But I couldn’t resist having a small rant. Can you resist searching for the YouTube video? Do try.