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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Zack and Miri try to take a Southwest Airlines flight and get totally f*&cked!

I have to talk about what happened with Kevin Smith this past Valentine's weekend, because I think that it ties together several of the themes I have been talking about it my most recent blogs. Let me give you all a little run down on what happened to this wonderful director/writer of such great films as "Clerks", "Chasing Amy" and most recently "Cop Out", this passed week from his flight from Oakland to Burbank.

So I am going to tell you the story as I was told the story from Kevin Smith from his podcast (to listen to the full podcast- go here {episodes 106,107}).

Kevin Smith was leaving Oakland, CA on an hour Southwest flight to Burbank, CA. Normally when Kevin flies he pays for two seats because he likes to spread out and have room and the tickets are very inexpensive; NOT because he is too fat to fit into one seat. Kevin Smith will be the first person to tell you that he is fat, but up until his February 14th flight he has always been able to comfortably sit in the seat with the arm rest down without a seat belt extender. Unfortunately, it being Valentine's Day the flight was packed and therefore Kevin could only have one seat for the flight which he was fine with him.

He was walking toward the plane when a man checking tickets asked Kevin if he had paid for his ticket because he was on standby. Kevin says yes he has paid for his ticket. He then gets on to the plane and starts to look for a seat. I myself have never flown Southwest Airlines (and probably never will), but I have been told that it is basically an air bus and there are not assigned seats and you can sit wherever you want. So he searches for a seat and finds one in between two little old ladies. He is in his seat and ready to go when a lady named SUZANNE comes from the front check-in desk onto the plane. She comes over to Kevin and tells him that the pilot (who has not actually seen Kevin as far as anyone knows) said that because of "safety concerns" he is going to need two seats and because the plane is full and there are no two seats beside each other he is going to have to leave the plane. SUZANNE was oblivious to the fact that as she was telling Kevin this information he was seated in the chair with both armrests down, which was evidently the criteria to be safely sat.

Kevin leaves the plane. Goes back to the front desk and waits eight minutes for service or any kind of further explanation of what the F just happened. He then speaks to SUZANNE again and she puts him on another plane that is supposed to leave Oakland at 7pm. He waits and twitters.

He then gets on the other plane and there is a larger/big boned girl named Natalie sitting in the seat across from him and there is a seat in the middle between the two of them. Natalie is then asked to follow the stewardess out of the plane. Not again, Kevin thinks.

Natalie returns to her seat. Near the end of the flight Kevin asks Natalie what had happened and she said that the stewardess told her that next time she flies she should really consider buying two seats; even though the seat directly beside Natalie was vacant.

I have always liked Kevin Smith, his work his intelligent, insightful and makes you look a little bit closer to the things that most people take for granted in life. He has shown us two clerks with the brains of great poets, a comic book writer struggling with her sexuality and has been nominated for several major film awards. He has put his stamp on MY generation.

As, I was turning on Entertainment Tonight to watch the story, I said to my fiance: "What is this Kevin Smith thing?" Before I could finish the thought, I was put in front of the computer and was asked to listen to Kevin's podcast and I listened for several hours to his story. I could hear the pain in his voice. It brought me to tears.

The way that individuals are treated in this 'barbiekong" world makes me so sad. This story is not important because Kevin Smith needs to loose weight or because he has to buy two seats on his flights. It's important because it exposes the way that so many people in America are treated based on their weight, height, hair color, eye color, skin color, choice of clothing, religious beliefs, zip code.........I could go on. When will we grow up and just stop caring about this stuff and stop making judgments on other people (see previous blog "The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Liposuction"). Most American's look more like Kevin Smith than Tom Cruise.

After Kevin told his story, he then had another podcast with Natalie (the girl seated across from him). After listening to her story, I started bawling. This poor girl was humiliated by some stupid bitch who just wanted to be mean! Everyone has things about them that they don't like. A pimple here, a bit of unwanted hair there. Would you want someone pointing out every physical flaw that you had every time you stepped on a plane? Going by Southwest Airline's logic, shouldn't skinny people be asked to share a seat and double up with a fellow passenger.

Kevin Smith is one of the few people in Hollywood who has not given into the crazy. He lives his life simply with his wife and daughter and makes really interesting movies. And I guess when it is all said and done this was probably the worst person for Southwest Airlines to do this to because he will use his voice, stand up for what he believes in and will probably make a movie about it...... I smell Oscar!

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