Bobby Age 5 was an unaccompanied minor on a flight from Detroit to New Orleans. Now two things to know about me as background are that 1) I have no kids, and 2) I’m not much of a talker on flights. I intentionally purchase over the ear noise cancelling headphones in hopes my fellow passengers get the hint. I’m probably going to sleep on the flight. If I’m not exhausted I probably have some work to do. And if by some miracle of all that is holy I’m not exhaust or have to work, I just want to lose myself in a good book for a couple of hours and be left alone. Don’t tell me about your business, your grandchildren, your dog, or anything else. Leave me the F alone and we’ll get along just fine.

So anyway, I’m sitting in first class when lo and behold, my seat mate on the aisle is none other than Bobby Age 5. I know he was 5, because he told everyone with whom he interacted that his name was Bobby and he was 5 years old. And he liked to interact. A lot. If you put your headphones on to ignore him, he’d tap you on the shoulder with his pointy little finger until you acknowledged him. If you fell asleep, he’d wake you up.

Bobby Age 5 was unusually worldly for someone aged 5, IMO. He spoke on a number of topics. Favorite cartoon characters. School. His mom. His dad. His grandmother. His friends. Mostly he liked talking about how the plane was likely to crash. He had watched TV programs. There were many ways planes could crash. Pilot error. Engine failure. Bad weather. The plane breaking apart. This plane was likely to crash. I’m not afraid of flying, but Bobby Age 5 definitely spoke loudly to anyone within ear shot that they should be. For the better part of 3 hours, I was trapped against the window as Bobby Age 5's new best friend.

Fortunately the Northwest flight attendants recognized this situation. While they couldn’t prevent it, they threw stacks of drink coupons at me in sympathy. I chalked this up to a bad and unlucky flight and went on with my week.

On my return flight home 5 full days later, I happened to be sitting near the gate desk, where two agents were talking about what a rough week it had been. Various troubles were reviewed, weather, flight delays, and the one mentioned that an unaccompanied minor’s guardian had been over 4 hours late in picking up a child on Monday. I caught this nugget of conversation, raised my head, and blurted out, “Not Bobby Age 5?” The agent, and I am using exact quotes here, said, “Holy shit! You know Bobby?” I explained I had sat next to Bobby on the DTW to MSY flight. She just shook her head, and looked down at her computer. Within 60 seconds she upgraded me to first class on the return flight. Bobby Age 5 was QUITE famous amongst the Northwest staff of MSY. And apparently for FOUR hours while he awaited his grandparents to pick him up, he “interacted” with the gate agents. I wrote them nice reviews on their surveys and got very drunk on the flight home.