My husband was taking me to meet his folks in England. The year was 1981 and I was on my first trip anywhere outside of Australia. I felt so privileged sitting there in the big Boeing 747. Wow what a gas! I thought to myself. Here is little old me going overseas on a plane!
My fears of flying were sent to the back of beyond as I soaked in every detail of the trip.
My husband was so comfortable with air travel, having made several trips across the globe, until Cupid’s arrow shot him down. I was enjoying the atmosphere and even commanded that he let me sit in the window seat. After several hours and copious cups of tea and mountains of delectable food served by equally delectable hostesses, we touched down at Singapore Airport.
It was a two-hour transit stop, and I’d never seen such comings and goings. The passengers were shuttled by bus to the terminals. Our bus was no different from any of the hundreds of other shuttle buses crisscrossing the tarmacs at deadly speeds. My husband ,with me in tow, climbed aboard and immediately grabbed for the overhanging hand grip. I tried unsuccessfully to reach the grip above me a number of times. Oh, well I thought, just stand here and hope that this vehicle doesn’t collide with anything in its path.
Then the first surprise came. An old woman who spoke in a kind of classy English voice said, “Here, love, you can have my seat.”
“No, but thanks very much,” I protested.
Then came the bombshell. As she arose from her seat she said, “Look, love, a woman in your condition should not be standing.”
I uttered, “Thank you,” as I sank down into the seat. Through my peripheral vision, I could see the lady trying, as I had done, to reach the elusive strap above her head. As we two newly-weds were sitting, waiting for the flight out of Singapore, we both started laughing at the same time.
My amused husband said, “Bet that was the first time a white woman gave up her seat for you eh, Cis?” Before I could answer he added, “And when were you going to tell me that you were pregnant?” The next two hours’ wait was spent with reflections on that incident and our ribs became sore from the laughing.
I had no idea that I was anywhere near being obese at the time. If that dear woman could see me now, I wonder what her reaction would be. She’d be ready to put me into a Health clinic for sure!
I say, “Bless her heart.” That kind deed along with her well-meaning observation is a moment that has never been forgotten by either of us.
– Cissy Griffin
Mackay, Queensland, Australia.