A Passenger's story.
A friend and I were returning from western Canada to Ontario. My husband is a pilot so we were on family passes.
It was a large plane with two first class sections separated by curtains and 3 rows of seats consisting of 2 seats an aisle, 3 seats an aisle, and 2 seats. My friend Sam and I each had aisle seats and sat across from each other; me in the 2 seats and he in the 3 seats. The aisle separated us. Sam’s row was empty and my window seat was empty until the very last passenger boarded who sat next to me. He was a very nice man who said his name was “John.” He carried a small box with handles he’d made out of very sturdy tape. He was quite friendly to Sam and me and chatted away. Then suddenly he ignored Sam and would only speak to me. I had brought a package of nuts on board with me. I offered some to John. He took the package and handed it back to me empty saying “Thanks. That hit the spot.” I found this odd but not concerning, thinking that maybe he didn’t realize I was sharing, not giving.
I was reading a magazine and noticed he was looking as well. I then began asking him at each page if he was done. Suddenly he started telling me what I was to look at and for how long. At this point I was getting a little uneasy. He kept saying God works in mysterious ways. I asked why? He said you’ll see. He said we were meant to meet on that flight; I asked him why. He said you’ll see. Then he grabbed my hand and put it on the box. I was really scared by this time but stayed calm and kept looking to Sam for help. He was watching the movie. Now John is telling me to close my eyes, but at the same time he’s saying look at the bright blue sky and he’s telling me that everyone on the plane was in trouble except for the two of us. We were going to be okay. We were surrounded.
Now I’m quite scared and Sam finally looks over and asked if I’m okay. John said she’s fine. Sam went to get a flight attendant. Two came; a man and woman. They said the plane is empty and we’re moving people to 1st class. This was a lie. They said to John you stay, she’s moving. He said no, she’s with me. I’m not leaving her. They thought we really were together. They believed him. Sam and I said no he’s not. John said grab your stuff we’re moving. The attendants said no, you stay, she goes. I grabbed my stuff and went as quickly as I could to the closest first class section.
I felt a hand on my elbow and hoped it was Sam. I was too scared to look and didn’t turn around until I got to an empty row of seats. John had me. He said sit. I said no. Sam and the attendants rushed to us. There are passengers all around. John’s telling the attendants I’m his and that he’ll never let me go. He has me tighter. His strength and adrenaline were amazing. Five people are pulling him off of my left side and a man on my right is pulling me on the right. John is holding tight. Sam said land the plane! They finally get Sam down and cuff his hands. He’s silent with a dead cold stare. He seems to see and hear nothing.
I’m hysterical on the inside but trying hard to be calm on the outside. The attendant comes back from seeing the pilot who asked if he really needs to declare an emergency. I don’t care. I just want to go home. Sam says yes, she’s not flying another 2 hours with this guy. The pilot isn’t happy. He lands so quickly we have to wait for the plane to depressurize before opening the doors. The police come on board and remove John and interview me. The ground crew tracks down my husband who was in ground school and give me a bulky cell-like phone to speak to him. I’m in shock. All I can say is I’m fine. The pilot comes out and says you don’t now that guy? No I say. Never seen him. “Weird” he says and walks away.
The attendants are amazing though. They took amazing care of Sam and me and those who helped. The whole plane is shaken up though. Apparently John had found out his dad was ill and his family sent him away for a ski weekend. He never left the room. No one knows what was in the box. John, whose name was actually “Mark,” had been in a coma in the hospital for some time. He had snapped. They weren’t sure he was going to live. He never said a word about it again. He’s now on the do-not-fly list and had to pay for the landing and emergency services. There’s a 500 feet peace bond in place; he’s never allowed that close to me. It doesn’t matter though. I’d never seen him before and never will again.