Dear Annie: I recently was on a short flight. A young couple and their two children were seated behind me. One was 11 months old; the other was 2 years old. I am a mother of three and grandmother of six; I love kids and don't consider myself a grouch. However, I just like to sit quietly in my seat and read my book and do not really care to socialize with fellow passengers. I realize that young children and infants can be difficult to entertain on flights, and I didn't mind some noise and occasional fussing. But when the 2-year-old kept flipping the tray that was attached to the back of my seat up and down, I became very irritated, not with the child but with the parent who allowed him to do it over and over again. I didn't really want to turn around and be the grouchy old lady complaining. So I endured it for two hours. Am I being unreasonable? Shouldn't parents be a little more mindful of fellow passengers' comfort? I'm hoping parents of young children who fly will read this. -- Toddler Turbulence
Dear Toddler Turbulence: Better to bear the 30 seconds of discomfort for speaking up than two hours of discomfort for not. And you can speak up while still being perfectly cordial. Face the parent with a smile. Say hello. Be direct: "Would you please stop him from opening and shutting the tray table? It's shaking my seat." Even if the parent judges you as a "grouchy old lady," I guarantee some other passengers will silently regard you as a hero.
Dear Annie: I just read the letter by "Sad and Over It, With Empty Pockets." I once worked for a student loan services company. I worked with co-signers on loans that were in arrears. I don't know all the details for "Sad's" case, so obviously this may not be applicable to her situation. But if the parents only co-signed the loan, it's possible they are just responsible for a certain percentage of repayment (if it was a federal student loan). If it went through collections, then it may not be. If it was a Direct Plus Loan, then the parent is responsible for the full amount, no matter what agreement they made between themselves.
I think they should call and talk to their loan servicer (and ask for a supervisor) to find out whether they have paid off their portion of the loan. If they have a copy of the promissory note, it should also have all the details on there. -- Former Student-Loan Call Center Rep
Dear Former Student-Loan Call Center Rep: I'm printing your letter so it might be of help to "Sad and Over It, With Empty Pockets" and anyone else whose adult child is refusing to repay a loan. Thank you for bringing professional insight to this complex issue.