Man Mocks Boy Reading Aloud on Plane, Begs Pardon by the End of the Flight — Story of the Day
Tyler Campbell couldn’t bear the youngster sitting next to him on the plane reading aloud, and he began insulting him and his father, Edward, calling them “uncivilized.” Edward lost his temper and yelled at Tyler, revealing the shocking reason why his son was reading aloud. That’s when Tyler apologized profusely for his misbehavior.
Edward Norman’s 11-year-old son Louis was talking so loud at the airport that other passengers were looking at him and whispering. Edward felt a little embarrassed as he waited for his flight with Louis, who was talking too loud, but he couldn’t do anything.
After his wife’s death 3 years ago, Edward felt that he couldn’t cope with parenthood like his late wife Jacqueline did. He felt he didn’t do enough for a father. And so, as they settled on the plane, Edward hoped there wouldn’t be another incident beyond his control. However, fate had other plans…
“Hey, man. Please tell your son to SHUT THE HELL UP! I’m trying to sleep here!” Tyler grumbled.
Edward and Louis were sitting next to him. Edward had brought Louis’s favorite book with him so he could read to him on the plane. However, Louis insisted on reading it on his own. He was reciting the words aloud, and this enraged Tyler and a few other passengers on board.
“I’m sorry, sir,” Edward muttered as he turned to face Louis. “Hey, champ. Could you please read quietly for me? We don’t want to bother anyone, do we?”
“BUT DAD!” Louis exclaimed. “I AM SO HAPPY TODAY! THESE PICTURES! THE BIRDS, FRUITS, AND THE WORDS IN HERE. I AM SO HAPPY TO READ THEM!”
“Well, son—” Before Edward could say anything, Tyler cut them off.
“What in the world is wrong with your son? Doesn’t he know how to read properly? He’s literally screaming into my ears! You know what, I don’t want to sit beside morons like you! I’m calling the flight attendant right now!”
Don’t pass judgment on someone because you don’t know what they’re going through.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” Tyler motioned to the stewardess. “I need some help!”
“Yes, sir. How may I help you?”
“Look, I need to change seats right now because I want to sleep comfortably, and I don’t think that’s possible here due to the kind of people I’m seated with,” he complained, pointing to Edward and Louis.
“May I ask what the problem is, sir? Actually, we don’t have any vacant seats right now. If it’s urgent, I can request someone to swap seats with you.”
Tyler lost his cool. “Have you heard this boy? He’s been reading aloud and I just want some peace and quiet! And his father, he’s an absolute idiot for allowing him to disturb the peace in this flight.”
“Excuse me, sir!” Edward interrupted him. “I agree Louis was a bit loud, but I did tell him to read quietly. Please stop making a scene here. I was—”
“A BIT LOUD?!” Tyler glared at him. “YOUR SON WAS LOUD ENOUGH TO WAKE THE DEAD! WHAT AN UNCIVILIZED CHILD! AND LOOK AT YOURSELF! You’re still trying to defend him! And by the way, your son looks old enough to comprehend that he is causing a nuisance not only to me but to everyone around him! What is he trying to show by reading out words like a toddler? That it’s adorable? Huh! WHAT A BRAT!”
“Do you even know anything about my child and me?” Edward began to lose his temper. “I’m warning you, sir. Stop insulting us! I apologize for the inconvenience, and you can say whatever you want about me, but please stop mocking my child!.
“Jesus!” Tyler yanked off his seatbelt and leaped to his feet. By this time the other passengers had turned to face them. “I don’t care how you do it, but I want to be reassigned to another seat right now!” he yelled at the flight attendant.
“Enough, sir!” yelled Edward. “Fine, I admit what Louis did was wrong, but…” His eyes welled up, and he was crying before he realized it. “Do you realize how difficult it has been for him to read again? THREE YEARS…DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” his voice broke. “It’s the first time in three years that Louis is able to see the world around him.
“He underwent surgery, sir, on his eye. For three goddamn years, my child couldn’t see anything! He is overjoyed today since he can finally read everything. Please don’t pass judgment on someone if you don’t know their story.”
At this point, Tyler, the stewardess, and everyone else on the flight fell silent.
Suddenly, Louis pulled Tyler’s jacket and said, “I am sorry if I was mean. I was very excited, and I didn’t realize I was troubling you. I’m reading a book that my mom used to read to me when I was a baby. I am reading this because I miss her. I lost her three years ago, on the same day I had injured my eyes…I am sorry for troubling you and everyone.” He climbed to his feet and apologized to everyone.
Tyler was stunned. Now he felt like he was the idiot, ranting about his peace and quiet when this little boy had been through so much. Filled with regret, he sat down and gently asked Louis, “What happened to your mother?”.
It was Edward who replied. “My wife died in a car crash. Louis was seven then. Fortunately, he lived, but his eyes were injured, and it took him three years to be able to see again after his surgery a few days ago. That’s why we’re here. We’re flying back home now so he can rest. But he needs another surgery to ensure his eyes fully recover.
“I know there are others in worse situations than us, but things haven’t been easy for us. We’re having financial problems; I am still reeling over my wife’s death, and then Louis’s treatment…It’s a struggle coping as a parent alone… Now I feel like such a terrible father.”
“Look, sir…” Tyler had just begun to speak when a voice over the intercom announced their arrival at their destination. The stewardess returned to her position to prepare for landing while Tyler sat silently in his seat, his eyes moist.
As the flight landed and people began to disembark the plane, Tyler turned to Edward and Louis and apologized to them. “I am so sorry for my actions earlier. I was wrong. It’s ironic because I’m actually an ophthalmologist, and I can help Louis. Let me make it up to you by treating him for free. I am really embarrassed by what I did. I should have been more patient.”
“Oh no, it’s alright…Guess I went a little overboard too. I’m Edward Norman, by the way.”
“Tyler – Tyler Campbell.
“And I’m Louis Norman, Dr. Campbell!” Louis said, extending his hand for a handshake.
Tyler laughed and shook the small boy’s hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Louis.”
That day, Edward forgave Tyler and thanked him offering to take care of Louis’s treatment.
Thankfully, the boy’s subsequent surgery went great, and his eyes would be completely fine. After getting discharged and returning home, he came up to Edward one day and hugged him. “Hey, dad. I forgot to tell you something.”
“What is it, Louis? Are you having trouble with your eyes again? Let me check—”
“No, dad,” Louis replied. “I just wanted to say you are awesome! YOU ARE THE BEST DAD! Don’t doubt yourself that you’re not a good parent for even a second. I’m old enough to understand things have been hard for you. I remember you said you felt you were a terrible dad on the flight. You’re not! You’re amazing, and I love you!”
Edward hugged Louis and cried silently. “You grew up too soon, Louis. Thank you for being the best son so that this dad could be the best father.”
What can we learn from this story?
Tough times don’t last long; tough people do. Edward faced many difficulties in life — the death of his wife, raising his son alone, and struggling with financial issues. But he never gave up and these difficulties only made him tougher.
Don’t pass judgment on someone because you don’t know what they’re going through. Tyler understood he was wrong to mock Edward and Louis because there was an understandable reason behind Louis’s behavior on the plane, and he eventually apologized to them.