On 20 August, a lengthy flight delay turned ugly at an airport in Beijing, where frustrated customers complaining snowballed into a scene from a zombie movie.  In the middle of the fracas someone took a video and posted it on the internet.

In the video, a peculiar image of an airline employee just lying motionless on the floor has people asking: “Did he confuse his ‘what to do during a customer complaint’ manual with his ‘what to do during a bear attack’ one?”

On that fateful day, an Eastern Airlines flight from Beijing to Xian was over 4 hours delayed. The customers grew more and more irate and the counter staff were left to deal with them.  Unfortunately the video doesn’t reveal the events leading up to the man lying on the ground.

However, the video is frequently described as “an airline worker pretending to be dead to avoid noisy customers.”  The airline strongly denies this, saying: “this employee had fallen. Things being said like ‘he’s pretending to be dead’ are simply not true!” According to airline officials, he was knocked over by the angry mob of customers.

A Japanese person working in a Chinese amusement center had this to say:

“Here too, many times customers with complaints about waiting time have surged together forming a mob.  At times I thought if any more joined in I’d be crushed! [laughs] I don’t know if that worker was really pretending to be dead or not, but the story about him getting pushed over and hitting his head seems probable to me.  Anyway, luckily he didn’t get trampled.”

Even after examining the video like the Zapruder film it’s hard to come to a conclusion.  At around the 1 minute mark you can see the man move his head slightly in a way reminiscent of someone who had taken a blow to it.

However, the demeanor of all the other people in the video leads me to believe that he wasn’t hit. The ladies in the frame seem amused in such a way that they’d have to be total monsters if they just saw someone assaulted.  Even the man’s coworkers, although busy, seem rather aloof to him lying on the ground.

Whatever the case may be, the lesson to take away from all this is keep your cool when trouble comes.  Sure we can say the employee’s choice to play dead probably wasn’t the most sensible one, but the customers are equally, if not more, irresponsible for becoming unruly savages.

Anyone whose flown knows the severe suckiness of a flight delay that runs into the hours, and in that sense we can sympathize with the crowd.  But yelling at the desk workers who have nothing to do with the delay doesn’t solve anything.  It just makes them want to curl up in a ball and die, as this man may have demonstrated.

Source: YZ News (Chinese)

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