This went round and round the internet last weekend. It tells the story of Elan, a reality TV producer, and ‘Diane’ a fellow passenger on his flight.

In brief, the flight is delayed and Diane is highly agitated and is being rude to the flight attendant about the delay. Elan overhears the entire exchange and feels that she is out of bounds and needs to be taught a lesson. He tweets the entire episode to his seventy thousand followers. He begins by sending her a glass of wine and a note which really could have been quite nice until the last line. “Hopefully, if you drink it, you won’t be able to use your mouth to talk!” It escalates from there. Elan describes working up the nerve to drop bottles of vodka on Diane’s tray. He describes being both ‘super excited’ and that it was terrifying how angry she was.

“Oh my God I did it I walked as if I was going to the bathroom and I leaned over and put them on her tray table and walked away Oh my God”

“I’m not going to lie I am shaking this is so terrifying she is so angry at me it’s kind of incredible” She responds with a note saying his antics aren’t funny etc..

He declares war and it escalates from there. He ‘live tweets’ his every move and even his emotions.

elan gale ‏@theyearofelan28 Nov  “Well I don’t know what I’m going to so next but I’ve got two hours left on this flight and I’m going to retaliate.”

He describes her in his tweets:

elan gale ‏@theyearofelan28 Nov  “Diane is in her late 40s or early 50s. She is wearing mom jeans and a studded belt and she is wearing a medical mask over her idiot face”

We continue to see his progression and can practically feel his adrenaline coursing and hear his heart pumping as the crowd (on twitter) cheer him on with responses, favorites and retweets.

He’s doubling his following and becoming more and more popular with every move he makes against the anonymous “Diane”. Eventually, he tells her to ‘suck his d*ck’ and it really derailed from there.

Many people posted the story and called it hilarious, awesome, incredible etc. I felt like I was the only one who found it grotesque and over the line. Elan seemed to me like a gladiator in the pit being cheered as he hacked apart a smaller opponent.

At the end of the saga, Elan tells Diane to ‘look him up online’. Doing so, we see that he is “producer of ABC’s The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor Pad…”

I can’t help but think that Elan has gotten reality TV and actual reality confused.  On reality TV, the participants are paid to be humiliated, have their best and worst moments documented, and to be judged by an audience where the biggest smart ass wins.

In actual reality, the players have stories far beyond what we are aware of, their lives are not for entertainment, and their reactions are not scripted to best effect. Elan played to his audience, his crowd, and repeatedly battered a woman who was clearly having a horrible day.

This was posted a few days after this story broke. It describes Diane as having Stage IV lung cancer and thus being in a state to really want to be with her family on what may well be her last Thanksgiving.

It matters not if Diane is or is not dying in this context. This episode could and should have been a very different affair. Those hundred and thirty thousand twitter followers could have learned a much better lesson than the one they got in bullying. Elan could have walked over the the woman in the mask, handed her a glass of wine, told her that he understood she was frustrated, that everyone is, but that he was sure she did not mean to take it out on the flight attendants and perhaps when she calmed down, she might find it in her heart to apologize- They could have started talking, laughing, maybe she would have shared that special recipe with everyone, we’ll never know.

I do hope Elan has reflected on this episode and perhaps can see that while on reality TV, being the biggest wise-ass usually wins, in actual real life, it just makes you an ass.