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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Geezer Squad Update

You might have read this Boston Globe article about the to-do on a Northwest flight on June 2. It reported that a man had become "unruly", and had to be subdued by a couple of old guys: an ex-cop (Bob Hayden) and a retired Marine (name unknown). The article was notable for the remark by Hayden's wife, who calmly read her book during the incident. She was quoted as saying:

"I figured he would go up there and step on somebody's neck, and that would be the end of it. I knew how that situation would end. I didn't know how the book would end."

I got to wondering just what the heck was going on, and what "unruly" meant, and why, if two guys were acting weird and shouting before takeoff, did the plane leave with them still on it. Never got an answer to that last one, but here are a few follow-up items:

Annie Jacobsen, writing at Aviation Nation, interviewed Hayden. (You'll remember that Jacobsen wrote about her experiences on a different Northwest flight, one in which she described a group of [what turned out to be] Syrian musicians acting strangely. This Wikipedia page [WARNING! etc] has links to her original articles for Women's Wall Street, among other things.)

Anyhow, Hayden sounds as if he still thinks it might have been a probe, since then men popped out of their seats the instant the pilot made an announcement. He also likes that quote about his wife in the Globe.

The Aero-News Network describes exactly what the men were doing. Although the Globe article, above, said that one passenger was unruly, and the other was his brother, here Hayden describes both men as acting strangely.

His hometown newspaper has an article in which Hayden describes the two men as "Pilipino". (Ah, that good old fact-checking.) At the end, the article also notes that Hayden was a contestant in a short-lived reality show called Lost, which ran on NBC in late 2001. The idea was to drop two-man teams off in the middle of nowhere, and let them make their way back to New York City within 25 days. (Sounds ripe for lawsuits.) The episodes Hayden appeared in had the teams dropped in Bolivia. Read about the series in general here. (WAR---aww, skip it).

Finally, the Patriot Ledger says that his staff presented him with a cake when he got back to work, with a Superman figurine on it. A white-haired Superman.

Photos of Hayden at those last two links.