During my flight back to Kuwait, the man sitting next to me on the window seat was sleeping when the food cart came. There was basically two choices, falafel or chicken sandwiches. The flight attendant asked me what is my choice and I declined since I ate before takeoff and just elected for a kitkat which she was handing out with the sandwich of choice. When she gave me the kitkat and my napkin she looked at my sleeping seat mate and realized he was sleeping. She took a small while to contemplate what do.. Just a mere second then opened the table in the middle seat, which was not occupied, and placed one kitkat and one sandwich for my sleeping seat mate. She turned immediately after that to serve the next passenger. I was curious to know which sandwich did she put for him; I looked at the sandwich laying on the table but couldn’t read the label because it was facing down. I hesitated a little bit to turn it and see what is it; what if the guy woke up and saw me messing around with his sandwich? My curiousity finally won over my fear and I turned it and read the label, falafel.
Now this triggered a question in my head that I got greatly perplexed on; why did she chose falafel for him and not chicken? In her moment of contemplating did she looked at the sleeping man and decided that he looks like someone who would chose falafel over chicken? Did she go with the “safe” choice? If so why did she consider falafel to be the safe choice? Safe in the respect of he could have been a vegetarian? Did she assume that everyone loves falafel? I’m yet to hear someone say “I don’t like falafel”. What if he was allergic to falafel? That wouldn’t have been a safe choice at all. Did she grab the first thing her hand touched? Hence it was a totally random choice? Did she grab falafel because in her multiple flights she noticed that there are more passengers preferring falafel than those preferring chicken? Hence she went with the statistically right choice? Maybe the flight attendance thought that falafel is the more healthier choice so she would do the man a favor for not leaving him a choice but to eat falafel? In a sense she cared for a perfect stranger’s health. Oh and let’s not rule out that falafel is her preferred choice and that’s why she picked it up for him. Don’t we sometimes buy what we like for people who ask us to buy them food without specifying what they want? Maybe she went with continuity; the last guy ordered a falafel. Or the opposite, she went for the alternative, the last guy picked chicken. Could it be that she was running low on her stash of chicken sandwiches because most of the first rows were ordering chicken so she found an opportunity to throw in a falafel? My seat mate woke up a couple of minutes later just when the drinks cart came, he ordered a diet coke and happily ate his chosen for him falafel sandwich then went right back to sleep. Did he notice me turning his sandwich? I’ll never know.
I waited for the flight attendant to pass by again to ask her why she picked the Falafel and put an end to my curiosity. Her answer was “I assumed all Arabs would like Falafel”; she was a Philipino!