It’s no secret that American’s favorability around the world is on the decline. I was reminded of this earlier in the year when I traveled to Quebec with a slightly obnoxious stars-and-stripes luggage identifier tied to my suitcase, which mysteriously wound up getting “lost.” After speaking to the airline agent in Canada, who chuckled when I told her of the tag, I began to wonder if my missing piece of luggage had more to do with the red, white and blue than I could have anticipated.
True story: Back in the 80s, a friend of mine flew home from the Dominican Republic with her Spanish-speaking grandfather and a gallon-size container of honey from his farm. As if he were traveling with gold bars, he carefully placed the jug of honey in the overhead bin a few seats away. About half-way through the flight, the unlucky man beneath said bin found himself completely doused in honey, which seeped into his ears, covered his eyes, and slid down the space between his collar and his neck. As everyone on the plane turned to see what the shrieking was all about, my friend–who was eight at the time—became the impromptu translator of some colorful language from the flight attendant to her grandfather.