Judging by appearance

They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. However, when it comes to aviation, first impressions matter a lot. How you look like when you fly determines how you are treated by the airline staff, and could make-or-break your trip for you. Some people have even been denied entry into planes just because of how they looked. After a lot of trouble at the airport, the 89-year-old Mrs. Wilson finally made it onto the plane for the first flight of her life

But when she wanted to sit down in business class, she encountered a lot of unexpected resistance. Mrs. Wilson was sure she was in her right being here but was that even going to matter in the situation? Despite her age and appearance, Mrs. Wilson had every right to her seat. Her determination to overcome prejudices and assert her rights was inspiring.

Mrs. Wilson went to the airport one day to take a flight. She wasn’t very rich, didn’t have very many good clothes, and looked a little worse for wear – even for 89. That said, she did what she could to look nice and presentable – it was going to be her first flight, after all. At 89 years old, she wanted to make sure that whatever she did became memorable.

There was so much commotion going on around poor Mrs. Wilson that it was almost becoming too much for her. Everybody was looking at her and even the flight attendant who was trying to help looked at her with begging eyes. Mrs Wilson, on the other hand, was confused – it was all so new. She had obviously no idea what to do…

There was a bit of confusion on Mrs. Wilson’s end on what she was supposed to do next. However, the flight attendant did her best to be very patient with her. Mrs. Wilson tried to explain that it was going to be her first time ever to fly, and that she didn’t know what to do. So the flight attendant did what she could to take her to her seat.

Eventually, Mrs. Wilson got to sit down in her assigned business class seat, but she was feeling horrible. her whole body was still trembling as she put her bag away. But when she did this an old photograph fell out of her bag and it was picked up by the man sitting next to her. He was only trying to be helpful, but what he saw was something he didn’t expect…

In this day and age it is weird to see someone physically carrying photos outside of their own home, but to bring it to a plane ride? But the person who picked up the photos tried to be understanding. Mrs Wilson looked ancient, no doubt about that. She might be feeling nostalgic, and brought those photos along for moral support.

He wants to immediately give it back to Mrs. Wilson but then he sees what is in the picture and he can barely believe it. He asks her “Is this really yours…?” But what was in the picture? Who is this Mrs. Wilson and why did nobody want her in business class? What was in those photos that surprised the man so?

Let’s backtrack for a bit. Mrs. Wilson was on her first flight ever, and she was pretty excited for it. But she did not expect how overwhelming just getting inside the plane would be. The airport was wide, open, and amazing, filled with things she has never seen before. To her, an airport was completely alien and new for her – which caused her some concern.

For a woman who grew up in one of the provincial towns in the state, checking at the airport seemed incredible and even a bit mythical. She had never been in such a crowded place in her life, so she couldn’t believe her eyes. There was so much to see that she had no idea where to look or where to go first.

Such was Mrs. Wilson’s lack of knowledge about airports and airplanes that she didn’t know how much aviation has changed since 9/11. Nowadays, there were so many hoops to jump through just to get to your plane, unlike when aviation was new and everyone had a much easier time of it. It was evidenced by this one instance during Mrs. Wilson’s trip…

The old woman hid the keys to her home in her shoes to make sure she doesn’t lose it. It was actually pretty smart, when you think about it, but as we all know, metal is a big no-no… But she didn’t know that the doorframe metal detectors would react to it. “Mrs., could you come with me for a moment? Mrs. Wilson felt her heart skip a beat…

Of course, this was concerning for Mrs. Wilson. She had no ill intent here, but the guards were looking pretty suspicious of her. She knew she had to just follow what they wanted from her. The sooner she does, the faster she’ll be able to get through and into her cushy seat in the plane. But TSA had other plans for her…

The guards explain to her; “You are to remove all objects from your pockets. The metal detector gives a signal and we are obliged to search you if you do not empty your pockets”. Mrs. Wilson took the key out of her shoe and continued on her way to the gates, with nary a care in the world, headed off to her terminal.

Like we said earlier, how you look at the airport will determine the experience you will have during your flight. Looking nice and sharp, you’ll probably get through all the checkpoints faster and with no hassle. Look anything less, then you might run into problems, and even probably get nasty looks from your fellow passengers.

Even though Mrs. Wilson put on her best clothes for the trip, the way she looked made other passengers made try to avoid crossing paths with her. Mistaking her for a beggar or a woman from a low-income family. Indeed, we live in a world that judges us for how we look. And not only did the other passengers think she looked out of place…

Flying nowadays has become a lot more convenient. You don’t really have to line up very long anymore to get your tickets and boarding passes as you can easily just print it somewhere else, like at home, and have the airport staff just scan a QR code, sending you on your way. Unfortunately, Mrs. Wilson was not really versed in technology.

Mrs. Wilson had not been able to download and print the ticket online so she had to go pick up a physical copy at the help desk. It was the only way to get a ticket for her flight. But the person working the counter could barely believe it – she was very surprised to see that the old lady had a business class ticket and at first doubted if she should give it to her…

Meanwhile, Mrs. Wilson almost missed her flight. she had no idea where she had to go and was just blindly following other passengers. But unfortunately, she was following passengers who had a completely different destination. They were headed to a completely different terminal from where she was supposed to be. Mrs. Wilson now started to panic a little bit…

It was only thanks to the help of a kind airport employee the old woman even got to the department zone. “Mrs. You look lost, can I help you with something?” said the airport employee. Mrs. Wilson nodded her head. It was the first person that day who treated her with respect, and it was refreshing. However, she had a flight to catch…

At the department zone, some passengers were already waiting to board the plane, the man checking the tickets gave Mrs. Wilson a condescending smile and let her to the gate indicated on her boarding pass. He advised her to wait there so as to not get lost to the airport again. Mrs. Wilson stayed put as instructed, in a bit of a huff because of the man’s condescension.


All this time the old woman fiddled nervously with her purse in her hands glancing at her watch every now and then. “Is this your first time on a plane?” Asked a nice-looking young man who apparently also had a business class ticket. After getting so much nasty looks from people all day, it was nice to see someone talking to her nicely…

“Yes, it’s my first time and I’m really worried” Mrs. Wilson’s voice was trembling with excitement. That’s when the boarding started and the flight attendant smiled politely asked the passengers to go on the boarding bridge, which connected the airport to the plane. Mrs. Wilson was literally shaking at this point…

The young sitting next to Mrs. Wilson noticed this and offered to escort her onto the plane. He first took her to the entrance where the tickets were checked and after Mrs. Wilson fumbled a bit getting her ticket out of her purse, she pulled out her business class tickets, and the young man was stumped.

Just like everybody else this way, he was very surprised that this raggedy-looking woman had a business class ticket. He had considered getting one himself, but it was way too expensive. But maybe if he played this correctly, he could get his hand on Mrs. Wilson tickets… that was his grand, underhanded plan.

After checking in, the young offered to bring Mrs. Wilson to her seat. She agreed but had no idea the young man was actually planning on taking her to his seat in economy. He figured this old bird would not know the difference. And how could she, it was her first time in an airplane, after all! But he was proven very wrong…

To get to Economy class, the pair first had to get through the actual business class. The young man tried to do this as quickly as possible, but to his surprise, Mrs. Wilson knew exactly where she needed to be and stopped right at her seat the moment they passed it. She was sharper than she let on, the man thought.

She thanked the “kind” young man who knew there was no way now that he was going to get this seat and he started making his way to economy class very disappointed. Mrs. Wilson felt like she could finally breathe. This whole ordeal was finally behind her. She could finally sit back and relax, and enjoy her flight. It was done. Or was it?

Mrs. Wilson’s seat was next to a smart-looking man, who had a displeased look on his face when he saw her sit down. He was having none of it. He put down his magazine on her seat and asked one of the flight attendant: “This is business class, isn’t it? Why should I pay extra to end up sitting next to this old beggar?!”.

The flight attendant responded to the man as nicely as possible. “Mr. Thompson please calm down, Mrs. Wilson had the exact same kind of ticked you do. You can see it here on her boarding pass. Here, take a look.” said the flight attendant desperately trying to keep her cool, despite being internally very annoyed at this man.

But Mr. Thompson clearly does not want to be proven wrong today and reacts even more irritated, “I don’t want to look at anything. I get it, I should’ve bought an economy class ticket.”. The rude man raised his voice more and more and people were starting to take notice as he made a bigger and bigger scene of it…

All this time the unfortunate old lady anxiously watched the argument unfold, not saying a single word. All the other passengers end up unwittingly taking sides. Some sympathized with Mrs. Wilson, while others on their contrary were openly against her presents in business class. People were starting to chime in, albeit lightly, on the argument…

Among the defenders of the confused old woman was a man who probably even surprised himself by his actions. It was the young man who at first tried to get her business class ticket. He felt guilty and when he heard the argument erupt behind him, he immediately came to the aid of Mrs. Wilson -a surprising change of heart.

Unwilling to put up with the man’s behavior and feeling for Mrs. Wilson, the young man decided to stand up for the old lady. “Oh, for the love of God, Mrs. Wilson is much older than you are, and you’re behaving like a true low life. Keeping her standing while being lounged comfortably in your seat.”

After hearing the young man’s words, Mr. Thompson got noticeably embarrassed and calmed down a bit. But the storm of human indignation among the business class was already unstoppable. Not knowing what to do in this situation and how to get things under control, the flight attendant looked pleadingly at the old woman.

Mrs. Wilson realized that she unwittingly became the culprit in this scandal. She sighs sadly and said: “Oh well… Nevermind. Let’s not argue. I’ll switch to the economy class if I have to”. Her eyes filled with tears as she said it. Mrs. Wilson was looking forward to just sitting down and enjoying the flight. She just looked so distraught by the whole ordeal…

Feeling the weathering looks of several pairs of eyes at once, Mr. Thompson decided to back down and removed the magazine off Mrs. Wilson’s seat. In his embarrassment, he wanted to make amends with the old woman. “Take a seat, Mrs. Wilson, it’s your rightful seat and you paid for it in full. In more ways than I ever could…”

Unable to say anything the old lady sat down rarely. However, the woman didn’t notice her handbag opened as she was sitting down. An old photograph with curved edges fell out of it. Mr. Thompson bend down and picked up the photo and attempted to start a conversation about it, in an attempt to make peace.

Mr. Thompson bend down and picked up the photo. Noticing that a small boy was pictured in it. “This picture probably means a lot to you?” the man asked giving the photo to his elderly neighbor. Mrs. Wilson carefully took the photo. As if it was the most precious thing in the world. She smiled at it, her face brightening up, making it seem like all of her wrinkles just magically smooth out.

“Yes, this picture means a lot to me. This is my son Peter. I’ve lost him since he was a little child.” The old woman answered sadly. During the words of this poor-looking woman the business class passengers immediately settle down, ready to listen to her story. This was going to be good, they thought, and would entertain them for a moment…

Dorothy Wilson said that she grew up in a poor family with four siblings. Her parents Kate & John Wilson ran a small farm that helped them avoid starving during difficult times. Dorothy was the oldest of all the children, and therefore she had the bulk of the responsibility of raising the rest of the children while her parents toiled.

And therefore all the hardships of raising them fell partially on her shoulders. Peter, the youngest of the brothers was mentally challenged and required special care and attention. She devoted a lot of her time to raising Peter, making sure he was fed, watered, and taken care of. It was a stressful and thankless job, but she did it.

When World War II broke out Dorothy’s father volunteered for the army, where he fought against the Japanese military in the Pacific Islands. Before leaving, John Wilson gave his daughter a golden hair loom which was inherited from his grandfather. He asked Dorothy to keep the family heirloom safe until his return.

Unfortunately, John Wilson came home in a coffin covered with the national flag. The Wilson family was devastated with grief over the loss of the breadwinner and the head of the family. After the death of her father, Dorothy’s mother became withdrawn and never met another man to spend her life with.

Time went by, Dorothy was getting older and it was time for her to think about starting her own family. But instead, she had to stay with her mother helping take care of her mentally challenged brother Peter. Kate’s two other children have long moved into a larger city leaving their brother, sister, and elderly mother to the mercy of fate.

It was only later in life that Dorothy Wilson met her true love. She was 28 years old and she had already lost all hope of getting married. Jack was handsome and he was shepherd driving flocks of sheep in search of places for pasture. Their relationship developed so rapidly that Dorothy felt that she was in a fairytale.

The couple was planning the wedding but the bad fortune that followed the Wilson family wouldn’t allow the poor girl to enjoy her happiness. One evening Dorothy’s mentally challenged brother Peter set their house on fire. Jack rushed in to try and save him but unfortunately, they both died in the fire left without a home.

Dorothy and her mother were forced to live in an old shack. They bought it with the money they had from selling Jack’s sheep. It was then that Dorothy found out that she was pregnant. Unfortunately by that time her mother had already been showing signs of dementia, which manifested in aggressive behavior.

It was more than once that Kate tried attacking her pregnant daughter with a knife blaming all of her troubles on Dorothy. The unfortunate Dorothy gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Kevin. But every second she was afraid that her mother could unintentionally harm the baby, out of jealousy and hate. She was scared.

Dorothy spent three years living in a state of eternal fear for her child’s life. Then, tired of the grief and misfortune that had befallen her in such a short time, Dorothy decided to send little Kevin to an orphanage, where she thought he could be much safer and actually have a chance to live long and fend for himself in the future.

With tears in her eyes, Dorothy sincerely believed that the boy would be better off in an orphanage than living under the same roof with his grandmother, who could harm him after leaving her son at the orphanage. Dorothy lived with her mother for several more years until her death. Then Dorothy went back to the orphanage, intending to take her son back home.

But Dorothy was informed that Kevin had been adopted. Ever since then Dorothy had been trying to find her son for many years. But it was only recently that she finally succeeded. It happened thanks to the volunteer organization that specialized in searching for missing relatives. There was a chance for Dorothy to be reunited with her son!

She bought a business class ticket to be closer to her son who was flying the plane at the moment. It just so happened that Mrs. Wilson managed to finally see Kevin exactly on the day of her 89th birthday. “Now I can die in peace. I’m not sure if I’m going to heaven but I’m very happy that my son Kevin is doing well.” Said the old woman sobbed softly.

Mrs. Wilson’s story didn’t leave a single passenger indifferent. Some of them even completely changed their outlook on life. The old woman didn’t notice how, after hearing her story, the flight attendant went into the cockpit and said something to the pilot. A few minutes later an announcement came over the intercom.

“Dear Passengers, this is your captain speaking. Our flight is coming to an end, but our lives don’t have to end with it. Each of our lives is full of ups and downs, but that’s no reason to believe that some of us are more fortunate than others. We all get opportunities form our birth and our lives depend on how we use them without making mistakes.

We will not learn the joy of forgiveness therefore we shouldn’t look for the guilty when there aren’t any. As we shouldn’t hold a grudge against someone whom we might not be able to understand. And also I’d like to tell my mother, who is flying with us today, that I love her very much and I have forgiven her a long time ago. She’s a good person and she deserves to be respected.”

After the pilot’s words the passengers gave him a standing ovation, happy to see that everything ended so well. When the plane touched down, Mrs. Wilson hugged her son for the first time in many years. They were estranged for so long, and it was a relief for Mrs. Wilson to see her son become a successful pilot.

Crying with joy the old woman handed Kevin the golden heirloom which she kept all this time. The man carefully held the family hairless and cried like a child unable to contain his emotions. He’s been waiting all his life for this. One of the first things he wished to do as a pilot was fly his mother – and now, he did.

This story is not unique – in fact, many people have been denied service, judged unfairly, and even lost their lives due to how they looked. But that should never be the case. We never know the kinds of stories these people have to tell, and we never truly know what kind of person is behind the face we judge so much.

May this story serve to be one that inspires us to look beyond what we immediately see in people. We should all learn to be a little more compassionate with each other, especially in a world that seems to want the worst to come out from all of us. All we have is each other, so let’s not waste a single moment to be nice to each other.

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