Did you know that flight attendants are legally required to hand you a napkin whenever they give you a drink?
And yet, that’s what a Delta flight attendant told me on my flight back from London a couple of weeks ago, as she was serving me a Diet Coke. I was reading my newspaper when they came round with the drinks trolley, and since they never give you the whole can anymore, I just wanted to hang onto the plastic cup without deploying the tray. So with newspaper in one hand, and a cup of Diet Coke in the other, I declined the proffered napkin.
“I’m sorry,” said the flight attendant, “but I have to give you this.”
“But I don’t need it,” I replied.
“I have to give you one,” she insisted. “If I don’t, then if you spill your drink on yourself, the first thing they’ll ask is whether I gave you a napkin.”
“Well, I will take full responsibility for any spillage.”
She was completely unmoved. “Nope, I must insist, it’s the law.”
Now, I have absolutely no idea if there is any truth to her statement, but it was obvious that she wasn’t going to move on until I took the napkin, so I did, still marveling at the fuss she was making (in a good natured way) over a silly little paper napkin.
But I wasn’t about to take defeat lying down. As soon as she and her colleague had turned to serve the passengers on the other side of the aisle, I quickly dropped the unwanted napkin back onto the pile of unused napkins on the cart. Problem solved, I thought, as I settle back to read my newspaper.
“Where’s your napkin?”
The flight attendant had notice.
“I’m not saying,” I replied.
“Come on, where is it? What did you do with it?”
“I’m not going to tell you,” I told her, with a smile. “You may be required to give me a napkin, but there’s no law requiring me to tell you what I did with it.”
“All right,” she said, as she began serving drinks to the rows behind me.
And victory was mine!!