Article in today’s paper about a male nurse who was asked to move away from a 10 year old girl during a flight.
Daniel McCluskie, 31 years old, is a senior nurse at the local health district in Wagga Wagga.
The incident occurred in June during a flight to Sydney.
Following the safety demonstration Daniel was asked to swap seats with a woman on the other side of the aisle.
Later he asked why the had been moved and was told it was Qantas policy not to have men sit next to unaccompanied children.
There were people that looked during the actual move, people looked at me or looked around because there was a bit of a ruckus at the back of the plane…
…After the plane had taken off, the air hostess thanked the woman that had moved but not me, which kind of hurt me or pissed me off a bit more because it appeared I was in the wrong, because it seemed I had this sign I couldn’t see above my head that said ‘child molester’ or ‘kiddie fiddler’ whereas she did the gracious thing and moved to protect the greater good of the child.
I think it absolutely sucks; it’s totally and utterly discriminatory in my mind. It’s a complete and utter generalisation …
You don’t know who the person is and it’s highly unlikely [that a child will be harmed on a flight]. If a child is going to be harmed or hurt it’s probably going to be by someone closer to them than a stranger on a flight.
After ignoring several written complaints from Daniel, Qantas eventually got back to him with a “semi-sympathetic apology”.
A Qantas spokesman confirmed their policy, stating that it was consistent with other airlines around the world.
You can read Daniels whole story here.
My own experience:
I guess the reason this story resonates with me right now, is that I had a similar experience to Daniel just last week.
I was at a local playground with my 5 year old niece Sophie. There were maybe 20 kids going crazy all over the play equipment and the parents were all sitting around drinking take-away coffees and chatting. It was nice.
Then one little girl, oh maybe 4 years old fell off this ledge right in front of me. THUD.
She had fallen from about my shoulder hight flat onto her back onto the chipped bark ground.
There was a moment of stunned silence before she started screaming.
I had to crawl down under some of the equipment to get to her, by which time she was sitting up and just crying.
Checking her over, she seemed OK. Just a little shaken.
I looked around and although quite a few parents were watching nobody was coming over.
The girl was still crying hard so I sort of scooped her up and carried her out from under the equipment.
I was standing there holding her and she had her arms around me and I was brushing all this bark off her dress, when I suddenly became aware that some of these parents were watching me with an odd expression.
I guess they had intuited that I was not her father…it suddenly became all very uncomfortable.
I tried to put the girl down but she was only interested in hugging and crying.
Then dad appeared (I think he had been over in the take-away shop getting some coffees).
“What happened, what are you doing!” He was quite confrontational and stripped the girl from my arms.
I explained the situation to him and with a gruff “thankyou” he walked her away.
Perhaps he just felt bad that he had not been there when she fell. Perhaps I just look a little shifty.
But my feeling about the whole thing was that he thought I was up to no good.
And as I said, the scrutiny I was getting from the other parents whilst I was holding the girl was a little off putting.
It sort of spoilt the rest of the afternoon.
Although I thought I would totally empathise with parents in a situation like this….to be truthful, when this happened to me, I was pretty much…well…. pissed off.
And standing there, suddenly empty handed with everyone watching,….just a little humiliated.
Just like Daniel.
Would there have been the same reaction if I was a female?
I don’t really know….to me it seems just a bit sad if you cannot get close to a child without people thinking the worst.
What are your own thoughts on this?