I didn’t care about hormone replacement therapy so I decided not to watch Oprah’s show yesterday and take a nap instead.
A flock of geese had other ideas.
Just as I was getting ready to climb into bed for two hours of much-needed sleep, my BlackBerry rang. The caller ID showed it was Time Inc., which told me little. Was it InStyle magazine wanting to hire me? Bucky in the Human Resources office with a job? Essence wanting me to resume the Original Gossip Girl blog? Or People magazine wanting me to make a call to Gabriel Aubry’s rep regarding something with Halle Berry?
It was People but with news of a plane that went down in the Hudson River. The magazine needed reporters on the scene. It took me less than a nanosecond to say, “Yes, I’m available.” Sleep would have to wait. A real reporter’s adrenaline starts flowing when there’s a breaking news story. I immediately flipped on the television and saw that US Airways Flight 1549 was down in the Hudson. There didn’t seem to be any fatalities just yet and I breathed a sigh of relief.
I layered my clothing, grabbed a down jacket and scurried down to 40th Street and the West Side Highway to hopefully catch passengers as they exited.
I never stopped to think would I want to be so close to a near-tragedy involving aviation considering how often I’m in the not-always-so-friendly-skies. As everyone knows, this story had a happy ending thanks to Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III, the “masterful” pilot as my mayor Michael Bloomberg said. Or “heroic,” as my governor David A. Paterson put it. For once I agree with the word “hero” being used. The word is often thrown around in regards to atheltes, who have done nothing except make little kids look up to them. They haven’t turned a river into a runway to land a jetliner carrying 155 peope. They haven’t rushed into a burning building to save occupants. Hell, they haven’t even helped a little old lady across the street.
Sully is the epitome of heroism. I interviewed a few ferry crew members who helped rescue the passengers and listened to government officials praise Sully. I listened to his wife speak today on television. I think I’ve watched every local and national interview from every passenger willing to be interviewed. Across the country, who knows what booking agents and producers are dangling in front of the pilot to be the first to get a sit-down interview with him. Undoubtedly we will see the word “exclusive” used every time another network gets him. And to them, it is exclusive – but only to them. It’s an word used all too often, just like hero usually is as well.
The next time I board a flight I’m sure I’ll think of Sully and wonder if my pilot is as experienced. If I have to fly coach (and sometimes I do on short haul flights), I always request the emergency exit row. From now on I will take my responsibility of sitting in that row much more seriously. And who knows? I might even listen to the flight attendant or video during the passenger briefing telling us what to do in the event of an emergency and view the instructions in the seat back in front of me.