The flight had been cancelled while en route to the airport and no explanation was given at check-in, just an apology and an offer to be booked on the next plane out—tomorrow night.

“I don’t understand,” he said. “Is there bad weather in Newark?”

“No, sir,” replied the woman. The stiff grey fabric of her uniform prevented her from moving her arms, yet her fingers pelted the keyboard like rain as she announced his seat reservation and gate for the next day.

“Isn’t there some other flight, maybe on a different airline? You guys do that sometimes,” he asked, leaning in to glimpse at the monitor.

“Sir, seat 15A, gate 137 tomorrow at 7:50pm. Do you want me to book it or not?” Her eyes did not wander from the screen.

“But it’s my son’s birthday,” he pleaded.

“Seat 15A, gate 137 at 7:50pm. Yes or no?”

“It’s his first,” he said.

“Sir – birthdays, weddings, deaths – I’ve heard it all. This is all I’ve got,” she said, nodding to the customer behind him.

“But this is all I’ve got,” he said.

View this story's 3 comments.