Several days ago, an American Airlines pilot was flying on the airline as a passenger. At one point he took the microphone usually used by flight attendants and wound up giving what sounded like a Christian-style testimony of sorts.
His story went through the sexual abuse he endured as a child, that he was attracted to both men and women and was having affairs with men when he was married to a woman, how he considered suicide for a time, and other personal struggles. It ended with him saying he was willing to talk about the love of Christ with anyone who was interested.
You can watch a passenger’s video of the event on this YouTube link (NSFW warning: there’s some adult language at the end of the video).
I truly felt bad about the emotional pain he had apparently endured. However as much as I can respect that some believe giving testimony is important, there’s an appropriate time and a place for everything. And this – on a plane microphone he had no authorization to be using at the time, with a captive audience, wasn’t it.
Not surprisingly, the story was shared all around the internet. I personally saw references to it on Reddit, The Daily Mail, and other online entities.
Usually, that would be the end of it. The phrase “15 minutes of fame” is based on truth and stories like these are usually popular on the internet for a day or two and then kind of vanish. Unless something else about it pops up.
This time it did.
Apparently, a few of the entities that published the story used a photo owned by American Airlines. It showed an AA pilot in the cockpit, but with his face “censored” out. According to tabloid TMZ, the pilot in the photo was not the pilot in the video and the “photo pilot” is upset that his likeness was used as part of the story about this pilot who has some major issues.
I can totally get that. Even if you blank out a person’s face in a photo, it’s still usually easy for people who know you – friends, family, co-workers, etc. – to recognize you just by your hair and chin.15,550 pilots in 2020 and, like other small groups, “everybody knows everybody.” On top of that, TMZ explains that being a pilot is a reputationally-based job. If other pilots or even bosses thought that the person in the photo video was the same as in the video, it could adversely affect his career. As it was, the “photo pilot” said that people he knew were contacting him, asking how he was, offering to help if they could, etc.
With the help of American Airlines, the “photo pilot” was able to get his picture removed from at least some, if not all of the entities in question.
And hopefully, that will be the end of that.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary