A 71 year old Omaha marketing executive doesn’t consider himself a hero. However passengers on a Continental Express Jet might see it differently.
Gerry Gray noticed another passenger boarding the plane in Houston for a flight to Omaha. Gray says, “I saw him wandering around and he looked a little disoriented.”
Well into the flight the man, who had spent a long time in the lavatory, came out covered in feces.
Gray says, “The flight attendant went to the front of the plane and got a sheet of plastic. He set it onto the back two seats and asked the guy to sit there.”
About an hour from Omaha, Gray heard a commotion and saw the male flight attendant and the passenger standing in the aisle. The passenger had his fist up after punching the steward in the face. A female passenger told Channel Six News earlier that it appeared the flight attendant had a black eye.
Gerry Gray went back to help. Gray says the passenger shouted,
“You want to get hit?”
Gray then calmly told the unruly passenger, “Why don’t you take it easy and sit down and buckle up.” The middle aged man did just that.
When the plane landed in Omaha airport police boarded and confronted the passenger. Gray overheard the conversation. Gray says, “I remember the policeman saying you’re in a lot of trouble. And the guy says I got a perfect record. He says, I’ve only assaulted two police officers. Can you believe this is what he said?”
Though detained the passenger was turned over to mental health professionals from a care center in Iowa. The man may be receiving treatment there.
The United States Attorney for Nebraska is awaiting F-B-I reports that might shed light on whether the man had a mental history and if so, why he was traveling unsupervised.
Gerry Gray says the real hero on the flight was a Steward named Jose. The only flight attendant, he handled the situation alone with some help from an ad executive turned counselor at 30-thousand feet.