When you’re a long-haired dude, people take one look at you and make assumptions. I’ve heard them all, from hippy to surfer and many points between. I’ve never had anyone guess that I’m a dad from my appearance, though.
Which brings me to my encounter the other day with an American Airlines employee at Baltimore Washington International Airport. It was the funniest one ever by a long shot, and it made my day a lot better.
I was waiting in the jetway for my daughter’s gate-checked stroller after a flight from Phoenix. It was hot in the jetway, so I told my wife to take the little person into the much-cooler terminal while I waited to get the stroller. There was another family and a few other people with me.
Anyway, an American Airlines employee appeared at the door leading to the apron. He had the stroller in one hand, and an acoustic guitar in a soft-shell case in the other. He looked at me and held the guitar out to me.
“Actually, mine’s the stroller,” I told him.
He smiled a bit, gave me a skeptical look and continued holding the guitar in my direction. At this point, the other passengers (who’d seen me onboard with the little person) all started chuckling.
“No, I’m serious,” I told the American Airlines guy. “Besides, that’s an acoustic guitar – I only play electric guitars!” (True story, and one that totally destroys any link to hippiedom.)
I told my wife about it once I had the stroller in-hand, and she laughed hard enough that people in the terminally were glancing at her as they passed.
And let me be perfectly clear about this: There is nothing offensive about what happened at all (not even the fact that it was an acoustic guitar). We all get judged by our appearances to some degree. Everybody involved got a good laugh out of it. And really, we could all use a few more laughs with airline employees, right?