Flight Attendant: On every flight, there is always one passenger that stands out. It was an international flight, almost fully-booked, and there was a young girl I noticed immediately. She was the last to board, carrying a huge stuffed animal -- it disturbed passengers on both sides of the aisle. She had a window seat near the front of her section. After the meal, she wanted to buy some perfume, and it took her ages to choose -- other passengers were waiting. Then her entertainment system didn't work. I found her a new seat in the back of the section in front of her. Once she started to play the games, she was very noisy. Then she tried to use her cellular phone, and I had to warn her. I was getting tired of dealing with her. But she saved the day later. When everyone was trying to sleep, there was a baby crying at the front of her section. The parents tried everything, but nothing worked. Other passengers complained. Then the girl took her stuffed animal and played with the baby. He stopped crying and went to sleep. Everyone was relieved -- some even thanked her. You never know which passenger is going to surprise you.
Passenger: My first international flight was really confusing. First we ate, then I bought perfume for my aunt. There were so many brands -- it was difficult to decide which one was the best for her. The flight attendant wasn't very nice to me. He seemed to be in a hurry. The entertainment system at my seat didn't work, so I had to ask for help. He wasn't nice about that either. But, he moved me to another seat. Unfortunately, it was an aisle seat, but the games were fantastic. Later, I tried to email my friend, but the flight attendant stopped me. Then there was a baby crying and he wasn't nice with the parents either. I took the pink koala I bought for my nephew over to the baby and played with him. After a few minutes, he went to sleep. Before I knew it, the flight was over. It was strange -- when I got off the plane, the flight attendant smiled at me warmly. (374語)
A current topic of debate is the amount of support and services we are willing to provide for handicapped people. Many people believe that society has become more caring over the ages. However, if we look back in time, this may not prove to be true. A good example can be found by looking at some remains of a prehistoric culture.
Several skeletons were found in the Shanidar Cave in Iraq. It was the home of a tribe of Neanderthal who existed more than 40,000 years ago. One of these skeletons was of a man of about 40 years, an old age for that period. He is thought to have been killed by a falling stone. Careful study of the bones has shown that the man's right arm had never fully developed and had been cut off below the elbow. The condition of the teeth was also unlike that of other Neanderthal men's. They showed signs of excessive use, as if they had been employed to make up for the lack of a right arm.
How could someone so handicapped from his earliest years have survived to become and adult, and even live on to old age? Societies in such early times faced severe conditions. People who could hunt for meat were few. A handicapped person must have needed to keep close to the cave and been provided with meat. This seems to indicate a far greater degree of concern for the individual than previously assumed.
In fact, the level of care shown toward this tribesman is not always seen in present-day societies. Such concern indicates a sense of unity and cooperation that made possible the future achievements of humanity. With this in mind, are we doing enough for the handicapped? Rather than being too proud of the efforts that modern society has made, it would be wise to consider if we even equal the efforts of "precivilized" societies.
Douglas Corrigan peered out of the window of his airplane. Below, a thick blanket of fog hid the ground from view. Earlier that morning on July 17, 1938, Corrigan had taken off from New York. He hoped to fly nonstop to the West Coast.
Flight across the continent was still unusual, and in a plane like Corrigan's, it was a daring venture. Corrigan had bought the plane secondhand. It had been a four-seater built to fly short distances, but he had replaced three of the seats with extra fuel tanks and changed the original engine for one with more horsepower. Corrigan had worked diligently on every inch of the plane he called Sunshine.
Ever since he had been a boy hanging around the Los Angeles airfields doing odd jobs, he had loved flying. Corrigan had no money and very little formal education. His father had abandoned the family, and a few years later his mother died. (156語)