Yesterday, I spent Father's Day on a flight to California. Father's Day doesn't hold much significance for me since I'm not a father and my father has been gone over five years.
I'm reminded of one of my favorite Father's Day ads I saw online. It was a very simple but clever ad by Trojan condoms with copy that read the following: "To all the users of our competitors' products, Happy Father's Day!"
The flight was unremarkable except for a 1.5-hour delay and one particular passenger. Prior to boarding, I had observed this young man who appeared to be in his late teens or early 20's traveling with his father. He had quirky mannerisms and would randomly shout strange noises.
When I boarded the plane, I realized I was sitting one row behind and opposite where the young man and his father were sitting. The aisle seat was empty in that row, and I heard the father tell the passenger wanting to sit there that his son is autistic and sorry for any inconvenience. The passenger took the seat anyway and we were wheels up shortly.
All was quiet until about 20 minutes after take-off. I saw the young man and his father get up to use the lavatory. I could see it was very challenging for the father to wrangle (for lack of a better term) his son down the aisle to the back of the plane. Upon returning, the young man was completely animated. He returned to his seat with his shorts half-way down, gesticulating wildly, and making loud and nonsensical noises. For the remainder of the flight, those are the sounds I heard that pierced through the venerable Bose noise-cancelling headphones. It is rather unnerving to be on a plane and hear someone shouting and screeching wild noises.
When we landed, I overheard multiple passengers nearby tell the father, "Happy Father's Day" and give their appreciation for his situation. I felt bad for him and his son, but he was dealing with things the best he could.
A delayed flight and some noise on a plane are mild inconveniences. That young man got a bad deal of the cards, but at minimum he has a loving father to take care of him.
For people who still have the opportunity to tell your fathers how much you appreciate them, I hope you took some time yesterday to do so. Don't make it a once-per-year affair.