I fly a lot.
I have been traveling by air since before I can remember (and I have been renewing my passport like clockwork every decade of my life.)
I also was engaged to someone who worked for a major airline while I was in college, then became a flight attendant, and married a pilot, so I had a few years where I flew pretty much every other day.
And now I probably spend a good quarter of the year on airplanes.
So, I’ve had quite a few candidates for interesting seat mates.
I would have to say that my all-time best was this man:
His name is Ed Catmull. He is the President of Pixar Animation studios (among his many other amazing credentials.) He is a kind, gracious and brilliant man.
And I was, for want of a better term, a complete and utter shrew to him.
We were traveling on a Virgin America flight from San Francisco to Orlando, in their lovely First Class service.
I’d had a really long week at work of 10 hour days in the office followed by 8 hours additional back at my hotel (that had a terrible mattress, I might add) answering an endless mountain of Customer Support emails, leaving me with very little sleep.
I was looking forward to returning to my home – which was at the time located inside Walt Disney World (yes, really – The Happiest Place on Earth), so I could relax again and get back to a normal schedule.
I was settling into my seat, looking out the window and sipping some sort of cocktail when that lovely, sweet man sits down next to me and says,
“Oh, do you work for Evernote?”
I looked down, and I was wearing one of my Evernote T-Shirts.
I silently swore under my breath before replying, with my best customer service demeanor.
“Why yes, I do! I happen to be the head of Tech Support.”
“Oh, that’s great! I’m having a bit of trouble with…”
This led into an Evernote talk that lasted for around 20 minutes as I walked him through the things it could and couldn’t do on his various devices, took notes he had in general usability, and got to know who he was.
And this was the key thing –
When I realized who he was, a rage came through me like none other and I was having trouble keeping it down.
I tried, I really did.
I didn’t succeed.
“I’m so sorry, but I just have to say – I feel the way your company chose to market the movie ‘Up’ was very deceptive.”
He gave me a sort of double take, like – is this lady insane?
I continued, “All the materials – print, multimedia, what have you – depict a fun romp whereas it is a quite depressing movie with themes that parents should have the chance to address with their children ahead of time.”
He now had had the time to come up with a response. “All of Pixar’s movies deal with emotional themes. That’s what make us so universal.”
We kept going on like this, him with salient, well reasoned responses, me on the attack. I wouldn’t back down.
I know it had gotten absurd because his final remark to me was “Have you seen Tangled? It’s great.” (Note: this was absurd because we weren’t even talking about Pixar stuff anymore.)
Let this serve as my apology to the great Mr. Catmull.
I have seen Tangled. It is great. Not Pixar excellent, though.
I still think Up should have a warning sticker though 😉
Originally Posted: https://www.quora.com/Who-is-the-most-interesting-person-whom-youve-ever-sat-next-to-on-an-airplane
Originally Posted On: 2016-02-20