Lifestyle & Human Interest

Angry Passenger Soon Has Tears in His Eyes When He Looks Out Airplane Window


For American Airlines passenger David Darrow, flying during the Fourth of July holiday weekend in 2019 was an emotional, eye-opening experience he will never forget.

Darrow explained on Facebook that he was flying to be with his family over the holiday weekend. When he boarded the flight, he was agitated and frustrated.

“Yesterday I took a 10:00am flight from Phoenix to Charlotte and it was the most emotionally draining flight I have ever taken. I have never cried so much for someone I did not know as I did yesterday. I boarded highly aggravated and angry. (If you fly all a lot you’ll understand holiday travel: it’s absolutely madness),” Darrow wrote.

As Darrow sat stewing in his seat, the airplane pilot asked the passengers to pause for a moment of silence. Darrow became even more annoyed.

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“I thought ‘Now what? And I got even more angry because I was going to miss my connection,’” he wrote. “And then this happened.”

Darrow posted a series of heartbreaking photos that showed the airline ground crew loading a casket onto the plane. The box was draped in an American flag with the words “Handle With Extreme Care” attached to the side.

Darrow realized why the pilot had asked for a moment of silence and instantly felt his emotions shift from angry to ashamed and humbled.

“This soldier, who died in Afghanistan! Was being flown home to North Carolina on our flight,” Darrow wrote.

“You see this is what the 4th July is about. This is why we are free to argue over a stupid athlete and a stupid pair of tennis shoes. It about a sacrifice of men and women who since 1776 have laid down there lives so I can eat hotdogs and drink beer and watch fireworks.”

The entire plane was overwhelmed with sadness, Darrow said, including the pilot, a veteran himself, who had to make the announcement.

“The captain came out of the cockpit and address the passenger in person. He was a guy who also served and his four kids are currently serving and he did not keep it together and we all cried. The entire flight I looked at the floor of the plane crying as I knew this fine gentleman is down there so I can sit here and eat dumb peanuts.”

“I felt guilty and so sad. My problems seemed trivial,” Darrow said. “Here I was flying home to be with my family for the 4th. Here he was going to with his family to be buried on the 4th.”

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“I wanted to share this because it is a 4th of July I will never forget. My problems melted away and I was so proud of America and American Airlines for showing so much respect,” he wrote.

During our own carefree Fourth of July festivities, Darrow asked that people remember the anonymous soldier who died on America’s behalf.

“Please keep his family in your thoughts today,” Darrow concluded. “Because somewhere in North Carolina a family is burying there son, dad, brother, sisters and his mother are saying goodbye today.”

The Western Journal reached out to David Darrow for comment but did not receive a response.

UPDATE, July 9, 2019: The media relations team at American Airlines has verified this story.

In an email to The Western Journal, American Airlines Managing Director at PHX, John Daley said: “Whenever we have a fallen service member traveling with us, we make every possible effort to honor these heroes as they make their final journey home.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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