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The Thanksgiving Day Note-Passing Feud & Why I Don’t Find it Funny

Update: According to Elan Gale, this whole thing was a hoax.

All weekend long this story has been popping up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, with people commenting how “hilarious” the story is. I have a healthy sense of humor, but I beg to differ.

Some woman named Diane was throwing a tantrum over her flight being delayed, causing her to miss Thanksgiving with her family. She began berating the crew and annoying her fellow passengers by acting like she was the only one that mattered. At one point a crew member tried to calm her down by expressing that he, too, wished he was with his family on Thanksgiving. Her response? “This isn’t about you!” She continued her belligerent behavior onboard, pressing the call button incessantly and being rude to the crew.

Elan Gale, a producer from the show “The Bachelor” (awful show by the way – should have been canceled a decade ago) watched this scene unfold and decided to do what reality tv producers do – stir the pot and turn it into a full on drama. First, he sends the woman a glass of wine with a snarky note. She writes back, calling him an “awful person” with “no compassion.” Elan proclaims “war” and vows to “retaliate.” How dare this woman respond to an aggressive move like that? Sure, she seems awful but he aggravated the situation and is now harassing her with antagonizing notes.

Elan writes her another note, this time telling her “I hate you very much” and ends the note with a very ungentlemanly, not to mention profane and inappropriate suggestion.

Diane points out the impropriety and vows to notify the authorities upon landing.

Elan reiterates his previous obscenity with greater fervor. When they land, Elan waits for Diane at the gate with another note and she slaps him. A gate agent holds her back, offers to call the police, but Elan has just one last move: He hands her the note and walks off. The note contains his Twitter handle and the following parting words:

“Look me up online. Read every tweet. Read every response. And maybe next time you’ll be nice to people who are just trying to help.”

Who was in the wrong and is this story funny? First off, I don’t think a man sending a woman obscenity-laden notes is acceptable under any circumstance. It doesn’t matter that she’s being obnoxious and rude to the crew. It is not the passengers’ job to discipline other passengers. When someone is upset, you do not throw gasoline on the fire.

I can understand the woman’s anger at missing Thanksgiving with her family and perhaps it had been a difficult day for her, but I agree that her behavior was out of line. Still, the way to subdue someone that upset isn’t to antagonize them and start a “war.” That will end in a physical altercation, as Elan learned the hard way.

Elan ended the whole episode by tweeting a photo for Diane of his mother flipping her the bird. Classy. Yes, Diane seems to have acted atrociously, but so did he by antagonizing her. There was absolutely no need for it. So excuse me if I don’t find it funny when a person is upset to be missing a holiday with their family, or when a grown man behaves like an adolescent and starts harassing a stranger with bizarre, profane, and sexually explicit notes. It’s not funny, it’s sad and embarrassing for both of them. What’s more, it’s a sad day when people find humor in other people’s misery.

What are your thoughts? Are you amused by this story or the producer’s actions?

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Ariana Arghandewal

13 Comments

  1. I think it was funny and, although I wasn’t there I have met the type of people “Diane” represents and really don’t like them.

  2. I didn’t find it amusing either. It never occurred to Elan that his antagonizing this idiot was going to make the flight attendants work harder and suffer Diane’s behavior? Pathetic all around.

  3. Totally agree with you on all accounts: Her behavior was obnoxious and outrageous, and his was totally inane and juvenile (like his show).

  4. As a former stewardess(way back) I think the flight attendant could have helped keep that from going as far as it did. The flight attendant never needed to send the first note and glass of wine..or bring the vodka for the second round that Elan thought would be funny to send..in all the years I was flying, I never had a situation that couldn’t be calmed down..the passeneger was rude but what was the point of making it worse?

    • I agree. It could have been prevented. I understand the FA’s were probably aggravated and maybe wanted to see someone treat her the way she treated them.

      • I’m sure you are right..they were probably fed up and they too were working on a holiday..I think that’s when, as a professional, you rise above it and for the sake of everyone involved..calm it down..kind of like being a parent to a 2 year old 😉 IMHO–he was a total jerk though to continue to push it like he did..way past where he could have made a point, sent her a strong message and then been grown up enough to stop before getting vile. Thanks for an interesting discussion..

  5. I think most of us have seen “that” passenger who thinks the world revolves around them. Was he right to continue his actions, probably not but he was right to speak up.

    However, I do find it somewhat alarming the sexist tone that you wrote in. You imply that it isn’t appropriate for a male to pass snarky notes to a female (but presumably OK the other way around). Then you go on to imply that he deserved to get hit. Every attacked woman has to fight the “she brought it on herself” thinking of the populous but you’re just doing that in reverse. Diane is fully accountable for her actions. I would have pressed charges.

    • It wasn’t meant to be sexist. I don’t think it’s ok for ANYONE to write notes like that, nor do I think it was ok for her to hit him. What I meant was this type of antagonizing leads to physical altercations – which it did. Call me old fashioned, but I think sending derogatory notes and picking a fight with a woman is ungentlemanly. I’d be just as critical if it was a woman sending a man obscene notes. Is it ok to speak up? Absolutely. But being civil is far more effective in diffusing a situation like this.

  6. I would have pressed charges too, Nurse Traveler. I whole-heartedly believe that every individual is personally responsible for how they are perceived and how others treat them. DYKWIA assholes deserve to be treated like DYKWIA assholes and not with compassion or civility.

    • She may have pulled a DYKWIA, but he was a total ass to get involved the way he did.

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