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I’m sitting at the airport, and all I can think of is John Quinones. You know the guy, from the TV show What Would You Do?


It is one of my wife’s favorite TV shows, so I have had the opportunity to watch it many times. It creates scenarios to test how “ordinary people” will respond, if they will step in if they see something that is unethical. The funny part of this show is that pretty much every single episode is filmed in New Jersey (insert witty comment here).

Back to my blog.

I’m waiting for my flight, minding my own business and goofing around on my iPad, as most people do. There are two cute little kids, a boy and a girl. If I were to guess I would say they are 3 and 5, but I couldn’t say for sure.

They are just being kids, but nonetheless running amuck. They have an airport wheelchair with all of their stuff stacked on it, and they are taking turns pushing each other in it, running into things including other people’s luggage, walls etc.

The mother, at least I assume it’s the mother, is sitting on her laptop while also on the phone with either her husband or boyfriend (either way, clearly the father) telling him how they won’t listen to her. She pauses every so often to yell at them and tell them to stop. After this short burst of anger, she quickly looks back to her computer and continues talking while they slam into something else.

From time to time she says things like, “I’m trying to not hit your children,” to the man on the phone very loudly, which makes the woman behind her and me stare at each other, also loudly. The mom still does nothing more than shout at them. She pretty much ignores them completely beyond this.

From time to time, I almost make eye contact with the mom, but I always quickly look away. She does not seem to be aware that her behavior is uncomfortable, or maybe she just doesn’t care. The woman sitting behind this lady and I continue to look at each, almost daring one another to do something or say something. I am sure she’s asking herself the same things I am: Do I say something? Is this going to escalate, and will I step in?

After about a half hour of this, she gets off the phone, gets up, and grabs them aggressively. Plants the little girl in the seat next to her and pushes the boy down on the floor in front of her, using her legs to hold him there.

Eventually things calm down because she plops them in front of her computer playing a movie. They are now distracted by this and everything is just fine. But I keep holding on to this feeling of how inappropriate the whole scenario was and what terrible parenting, or lack thereof, she was putting out there for everyone else to have to sit through uncomfortably.

I wonder if I would have stepped in. I wonder if the other woman would have stepped in. I would like to believe if she had crossed the line with them I would make John proud.

Below on the left, the two little kids in front of the computer, the mom behind them looking in the other direction and the woman I was having the staring conversation with on the right with the blond hair. Not the best photo I know, but nonetheless it is what I have.

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What would you do?