My last trip home from Alabama proved to be more exciting than I had anticipated. Air travel is never predictable and as Chris peeled off to fly to parts unknown for business I found myself sitting in the exit row (more room) on a CRJ700 Delta flight on my quick flight from Atlanta to Asheville. I was thrilled to be sitting alone in the aisle seat with no window seat occupant. Any time I get a row to myself it makes me happy – more room to spread out if need be and on these little connection flights it is always a bonus to not have to share. Not that I am not a good sharer – I think I am – but sometimes it is nice to travel solo.
As the flight attendant was urging us to all settle in 3 or 4 impeccably dressed men boarded the plane and found seats behind me. I was a little bit surprised because it was within a minute of closing the door and they did not appear to be the usual late arrivals. They were calm, cool and collected and did not act like they were late to the gate. But whatever — I was happy they made it and passed me by.
As I was reveling in my aloneness another impeccably dressed gentleman boarded and nodded to me that he was indeed my seat partner so as I unbuckled and he folded his navy blue dress coat and placed it in the overhead bin my mind was telling me that I recognized him.
He settled in next to the window with his bag that had a banana nestled on top and I commented to him about his lunch and he indicated that not only was it lunch it was breakfast as well and he offered me some. I declined (who am I to take a man’s lunch and breakfast?) and he settled in, ate his banana and proceeded to play chess on his phone almost the entire flight.
Before we took off he gave a little salute out the window to someone on the tarmac and it confirmed what I thought. Even though I am not a hugely political person I did recognize the former Vice President Joe Biden. I had seen an alert on my phone earlier that he was going to be in Asheville that day to promote his new book, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose,
Who would have thought that the former Vice President would fly coach in a small plane? Certainly not me. The flight attendant walked slowly down the aisle giving him the eye and even though Mr. Biden did not notice I did and I could tell that the flight attendant was a little starstruck. Soon enough he came back down with paper and pen and leaned across me to ask for an autograph which Mr. Biden graciously offered up complete with the phrase “Keep the faith.” .
While we did not talk much during the short 37 minute flight I was honored to share a row with him and respected his privacy. I like to read people’s body language and it was pretty evident that he just wanted to fly without engaging in lots of conversation so while I listened to podcasts and played solitaire on my phone he played chess on his and we were the perfect seat mates.
When we deplaned I thanked him for his leadership and wished him a good stay in Asheville and he gave me a dazzling smile and wished me well. When I walked off the plane there were police everywhere and I quipped to them “all this for me?” and they just smiled and laughed and I assured them that the Vice President was coming which I am sure they already knew but hey –I like to be helpful.
It was a nice flight and just proves that you never know who is going to be flying the friendly skies with you. This is up there with my other brush with fame with Norman Reedus in the Atlanta airport . You can read about that encounter here.
No, I did not take any pictures with him. It just did not seem appropriate and sneaking a picture was impossible since we were sitting so closely and just seemed wrong anyway. So you will have to just take my word for it. You never know where my travels will take me and who I will meet, do you?
Have you ever had a brush with fame? I would love to read about it so make sure you leave a comment in the comments section. All comments this month mean a 50 cent donation to our Comments for a Cause the Knox Foundation.