I now know there are ten readers of this column. That many good folk took the time to write and accuse me of dereliction of Christian responsibility because I let a drunk go out into the rain when he refused directions to gate twenty (“Plane Talk,” March 3 issue, page 32).

Therefore in the name of fairness I’ve revised the column, bringing into the account one of my esteemed readers:

The other night I was sitting in an airport lounge awaiting the arrival of my traveling companion. It had been raining for hours, and the rain was still coming down in sheets against the plate-glass window of the lounge.

I was just settling into my own thoughts when a red-faced drunk in rumpled clothes staggered in and asked a question of one of the baggage-handlers. Apparently not liking the answer, he shook his head and made his unsteady way toward me.

He stopped immediately in front of my seat, weaving back and forth on his feet. I prepared myself for a plea for financial assistance, but instead he asked, “Can you tell me where gate twenty is?”

I noticed he was clutching an airline ticket. Trying to be helpful I said, “Go through the door over there into the main terminal and you’ll see signs pointing to the different gates.”

“It don’t work that way,” he said with a frown, turning away abruptly with a swaying stagger toward the young woman sitting next to me.

“Where is gate twenty?” he demanded in a louder and more belligerent tone. Startled out of her magazine reading, the girl nevertheless immediately assessed the situation.

“Here, my dear brother,” she said, jumping to her feet, “I’ll show you the way to gate twenty.”


“Let me take you by the arm.”

“Shay, whaz your game, sister? Leggo my arm.”

“Here, let me put this gospel tract ...

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