06 Jun 2007

Two Grandfathers Handle Problem on Boston Flight

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An unruly passenger accompanied by his brother on a Minneapolis to Boston flight refused to take his seat, and upset his fellow passengers by shouting things like “Your lives are going to change today forever.”

A stewardess appealed for help to 65-year-old Bob Hayden, former Boston police deputy superintendent and former Lawrence, Massachusetts police chief.

Boston Globe:

I had looked around the plane for help, and all the younger guys had averted their eyes. When I asked the guy next to me if he was up to it, all he said was, ‘Retired captain. USMC.’ I said, ‘You’ll do,’ ” Hayden recalled. So, basically, a couple of grandfathers took care of the situation.” …

The incident on Northwest Airlines Flight 720 ended peacefully, but not before Hayden… and the retired Marine had handcuffed one man and stood guard over another until the plane touched down safely at Logan International Airport around 7:50 p.m.

State Police troopers escorted two men off the flight. …

The struggle had been short, and never in doubt, according to Hayden’s wife.

When the captain announced preparations for landing, the man jumped up shouting, the flight attendant held up the handcuffs, and Hayden and the Marine came bounding down the aisle. Hayden said he and the retired Marine, whose name he never got, received an ovation from fellow passengers, and “some free air miles.”

Hayden’s wife of 42 years, Katie, who was also on the flight, was less impressed. Even as her husband struggled with the agitated passenger, she barely looked up from “The Richest Man in Babylon,” the book she was reading.

“The woman sitting in front of us was very upset and asked me how I could just sit there reading,” Katie Hayden said. “Bob’s been shot at. He’s been stabbed. He’s taken knives away. He knows how to handle those situations. 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.”

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James R Ament

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