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Home>> Articles

All Passengers are not equal at terminal one
By: Radouane El Jaouhari

Airport Keep moving... Keep moving, ...keep moving... is what I probably would expect from a prison guard to say to his prisoners, or may be a feudal baron to his slaves. Sadly, I didn't have to go to a prison nor did I have to travel to a slave plantation to hear these same words. All I had to do a couple of weeks ago is make a trip to JFK international airport!

My mother was coming from Morocco on a Royal Air Maroc flight, so I went to JFK to meet her. From the waiting area where I was standing waiting for my mother to make her way out from customs, I couldn’t help not noticing two uniformed men whose job was to keep the pathway clear for passengers when they come out from the double doors toward the exit. The only thing that got my attention is the way these two guards were doing their jobs! In the 30 minutes I was watching them, they were rude each and every time someone greeted his or her relative who just came out! The moment they hug and kiss each other, one of these two guards would address them asking them to keep moving! At first I thought these guards are just plain rude with no manners, but when suddenly two (European parents) came, out and met their daughter in the same pathway, none of the guards said anything. Ironically, this parents and daughter encounter was the longest hugging and kissing comparing to all the previous ones! I even thought the two guards were enjoying the scene a bit! Seeing this made really sad to see how little respect the Moroccan passengers and their families get at this terminal. I just hoped that our respected airlines would take this matter seriously and report this kind of individuals to Airport officials, because everyone deserves to be equally respected.

Now my mother just made it outside the double doors! Here she approaches me, I get off from the crowd and I lean to give her a hug and a warm welcome... and as soon as I did that... the same unpleasant, rude and impolite voice was heard again saying the same thing one more time! “Keep moving”. I looked at this man and firmly asked him that unless he learns how to ask people politely using please and thank you, he shouldn’t talk to them at all. In the next few minutes I became the main attraction to most every one in this waiting area! Before I knew it, I found myself lecturing him on respect and politeness! I just couldn’t walk away keeping all my comments to myself about what had just happened. On the way home, I wished this terminal were not such a perfect environment for people who like to practice this kind of unnecessary authority.

Moroccans are generally easy going and very kind, especially to people whom they don’t know, but unfortunately there are times when this kindness is misinterpreted into intimidation and submission. The important thing to remember is to know when to draw the line and not let others take advantage of our famed philosophy: “Makayn mochkil!”

Radouane El Jaouhari

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