The airline industry’s latest First Amendment martyr, Robert Sayegh, was victim this week of one of the more miserable little abuses of power on American airplanes. Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 5136, which was actually taxiing for takeoff, returned to the gate so that police could escort Sayegh off. His offense? Swearing out loud.
That Sayegh is also a children’s book author and a Brooklynite who told the Free Press that New Yorkers use F-bombs “like adjectives” only endeared him to us more. He was kind enough to chat with DadWagon about the incident, his upcoming book, and why he would prefer we clean up our language.
Thanks for chatting with mutherfucking DadWagon.
Haha, no worries, man. Is that the actual name of the site?
I think Mutherfuckingdadwagon.com was taken. So we went with just DadWagon. But we get traffic from lots of Google searches that involve mothers. And fucking.
Gotcha. What is it that you want to know? I’m really not trying to be known for cursing, so let’s keep it about what happened. And to be honest with you, I am coming out with a children’s book so I don’t think this is the best platform for me. You understand what I mean?
But that’s the genius of it all, right? ‘Go the F— to Sleep’ is the bestselling children’s book of the year. You might be on to something.
But I’m not trying to promote cursing. That’s not my style. The word slipped and it won’t happen again. I’ll answer a few questions for you because I promised I would. So ask, my man…
Alright: What exactly happened on the flight?
Well, it was operated by Delta, and we had been sitting on the runway for 45 minutes waiting for them to fix an overhead compartment that wasn’t staying closed. So I kind of just said out loud more to myself and the guy sitting next to me, “What the f#@# is taking so long?”
Then a guy came on the plane and fixed it. We were already halfway to the runway to take off. And the guy flight attendant was sitting only one row behind me in his jump seat. So he was easily able to hear me. People a few rows in front of me never heard a word.
Good lord. It was just one flight attendant who heard this?
Just one flight attendant right behind me. So when I was being escorted off, I saw people looking like “what happened, what’s going on?” My actions did not warrant being escorted off the plane by police. And when I asked the police and the representative from Delta to please go ask everyone around me if I was a disturbance, she came back and said, “Well, he might have over-reacted.”
So no charges were pressed, and Delta gave me another ticket for a later flight. That’s the story. I was just so angry after that I called the Detroit Press and this has spread like wildfire.
I know why it spread: It’s absurd that it happened and yet totally believable. People seem to be getting escorted off of flights for all sorts of insane reasons. Were the police, um, courteous at least?
Hey, the Detroit Police were cool. The one guy just told me to keep my mouth shut in a way that he was helping me out. Because then they would have had to arrest me.
Ouch. You know it’s a bad day when the nicest thing someone can say to you is “keep your mouth shut.”
Really just an unfortunate incident that hopefully will help the airlines to train their flight attendants to differentiate someone who is a threat, and just someone who is talking out loud. There is a HUGE difference.
Indeed. Has anything like that happened to you before?
Never. I mean, being sent to the principal’s office is a little different. Being confronted by police is scary no matter what the reason.
So are you going to sue or still thinking it over?
I’m really still thinking about it. I don’t think I am going to, but I’ve been surprised by how many people who aren’t like that are telling me to. I’m leaning towards not just because I don’t want to be known for that. Try to take the higher road.
Let’s talk about what you DO want to be known for: your upcoming children’s book. What’s the title, and what’s it about?
It’s called “The Secret Origin Of Mirrors,” and it’s an educational book about how mirrors were created. Words within the book are highlighted and then defined so that the parents can teach their children. It’s being published by www.firstonepublishing.com and should be out in August.
I also published a government conspiracy novel, “The Dividing Line,” that I made into a screenplay. I just signed a LOI with a new studio (Watermark Studios) being built in Muskegon, Michigan (ironic).
Ah, the Michigan conspiracy.
Haha. It’s very ironic… right?
OK, last question: What IS the secret origin of mirrors?
That mirrors used to be Angels made from ice in an alternate world, and it wasn’t until a witch cursed the angels and froze them did she create mirrors. The witch goes over and looks at her ugly appearance and falls over a cliff and dies. But the villagers celebrate because they can now look at themselves everyday. So the witch’s curse backfired and created the story about The Secret Origin of Mirrors.
I like your brand of “educational book.” And you clearly are good with expressing yourself off the page. So we’ll link when the book is out, and badger our readers into buying it. Thanks so much for the time, Rob.