Society should allow for mistakes

By Clyde Davis: Local columnist

The story begins in a local mailing center, where a local business person entered and began to tell of his 17-year-old son’s attempt to independently board a flight. Read the story; it may have an all too familiar ring.

Like many young adults who have never flown before, this young man was very possibly unsure of policies, protocol, and procedures, so went into line without telling anyone his name or destination.

He was summarily removed from line by an airline employee, who caustically assured him that he would not get on this flight, which statement proved to be prophetic.

He did not, and the next flight to his destination was ten days later.

The location of the event was upstate New York, a rural and normally very friendly area, and the airline involved-well, policy forbids me naming it, but you have probably flown their “friendly skies.”

The story gets better —- or worse, to be correct. When a local businessman, boarding his own flight at a different gate, attempted to intervene on behalf of his adolescent son, he was accused of rudeness and flatly refused any reasonable access to the airline employee’s badge, name, or ID number. To be precise, she flashed it to him so quickly that he could not possibly read it.

At this point, a cell phone rang and the story was cut short. If that local business leader chances to be reading this column, I would like to assure him, as I think he already knows, that most of us Nor’easterners are not that rude or uncaring.

Which brings us to the crux of this column. What is occurring in society, or, if I were an AM radio talk show host, I would probably be polemicizing-what kind of a society devours its young ?

I can remember very clearly as a young man, being allowed to make numerous mistakes and being guided in the right direction, without being castigated by some glorified and self-appointed gate keeper. That has been, and traditionally is, the privilege of youth.

A 53-year-old man, like myself, who has flown for years, might be expected to know his way around an airport. But a young kid?

I fear for a society that is becoming so stressed out, so ill mannered, and so “prickly” that it will not even help a high school kid find his way around an airport. For I do see it as a reflection of a societal ill.

More, perhaps next week, on the expendibility of our senior adults, our poor, and our unemployed.

Something seems to have been changing, for some time now, and it’s not a pleasant trend.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and a college instructor. He can be contacted at: