"Have you seen this Betty?"
The front page of the paper had a story about a Saudi Arabian prince. He was a notorious party animal and playboy, and on this particular trip, it was alleged he had spent the week holed up in his hotel room with a go go dancer. It described how the prince was spotting a dime sized diamond on his ring finger and was going to be leaving Honolulu to go back to the mainland that day.
A few seconds later, one of the ground crew came in. "Just to let you know, there's an important VIP on board today and he has a large entourage with him," he said.
As soon as we saw the handsome young man in his long white robes we all knew straight away it was the prince from the newspaper.
I was working the first class galley that day, and was busy preparing the meal service for the flight when one of his entourage came in. He didn't speak very good English and the only bit I could understand was something about the prince wanting mashed potato.
"I'm dreadfully sorry sir,", I said, "but please tell the prince is potato croquettes with dinner today."
The man looked puzzled and shook his head. "No, no, Prince wants to learn mashed potato."
Then, much to my amusement, he started to knock his knees together in a comical fashion.
"Ah," I smiled. "Well tell His Royal Highness to come up here (first class galley) and I will see what we can do." I gathered all the stewardesses together.
We stood in a circle and started to dance. The Prince thought it was hilarious and soon he joined in with us. God only knows what the other first class passengers must have thought when they saw us all crowded in the galley having an impromptu dance with Saudi Arabian royalty.
reprinted with permission from "Up in the Air", by Betty Riegel
copyright 2013, Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.