There was immediate concern and widespread distress when an aircraft was seen bearing an offensive message. Almost half-a dozen people, with powerful binoculars, were just able to distinguish the sign when it was carefully pointed out to them, after they had managed to work out which aircraft was being referred to and they had eventually identified the relevant window of the aircraft.
Spread of the shocking news swiftly attracted world-wide revulsion, universal official condemnation and widespread public protests, some of which led to disorder, rioting, looting, arson and the destruction of property. The governments and the aviation authorities of nations across the globe published formal statements expressing their disapproval, and threatened the grounding of all flights and the severing of diplomatic relations unless the situation was addressed as an urgent priority.
‘I was so shocked, I drew my breath in sharply, and so traumatised that I wasn’t able to sleep for ages afterwards’ said Mrs Mabel Wilkinshawe from Luton. Her friend, 94-year-old pensioner Beryl Atkinson, agreed. ‘Once it had been pointed out to me by this young man and I had found my glasses and was able to see it, it made me go all wobbly and I nearly said ‘Tut, tut’ right out loud.’
‘I mean, it was so blatant!’ she continued, her voice quivering with emotion. ‘There it was, as large as life, written in crayon in letters nearly a quarter of an inch high, on a crumpled piece of lined paper which had clearly been ripped from a notebook, and held up in the window of this airliner for all the world to see.’
Fortunately the incident was resolved, peace broke out, the sit-down protests ended, the demonstrators dispersed and everyone was happy again when, after a brief armed stand-off, negotiations were successfully conducted and the 10-year-old perpetrator of the outrage agreed to remove the offending superfluous apostrophe from her sign.