Though I'm irked at Hawaiian Airlines for dropping its non-stop Portland, Oregon to Maui flight, on our return from Honolulu a few days ago a Hawaiian employee made me feel really good.
I'd forked out an extra $70 for two seats in an exit row, where I'd stretched my legs in comparative comfort for the five hours it took to cross the western Pacific. As we started our descent into Portland, a flight attendant sat down in the jumpseat that faces backwards across from the exit row.
Looking at me, she said, "I've been thinking for the whole trip that you remind me of someone. A little while ago I figured it out -- the guy who runs Virgin Atlantic, you know, um..."
"Richard Branson!" I blurted out, all excited. "Except, he's blonder, tanner, and better looking. Thanks, though."
She added, "I kept wondering why Richard Branson would be flying coach on Hawaiian Airlines." Good point. Unless he was thinking of buying the airline (which I'd be heartily in favor of, if he brought back that direct Portland-Maui flight).
My wife diplomatically said, "Yes, there's a bit of a resemblance." OK, I guess. I just scrolled through quite a few pages of Richard Branson images on Google. I didn't find many that made me think, "That's me."
Yeah, there's a bit of me reflected in this expression. Branson is just a few years younger than I am, which makes me wonder about his decidedly less gray appearance.
Sadly, I can't recognize any commonality between me and Richard Branson in this photo. I suck at anything having to do with water skiing. Having a beautiful naked woman hang onto me would make my suckedness even worse, leaving us both in the water (not a distasteful notion, though).
So in the end, I'll preserve a fond memory of the flight attendant's comments through this blog post, but I won't expect to be treated like royalty if I ever fly on Virgin America/Atlantic.
(Note: over on my other blog I've shared some photos of our trip to Maui, along with life lessons learned on tropical beaches.)