“You should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” ~ Old Irish Saying
I was reminded of this saying after reading an account of an altercation involving a group of men of Middle Eastern descent on a 2009 AirTran airways flight from Atlanta to Houston that caused the plane to be delayed. A passenger, supposedly on the same flight, wrote a dramatic account of this event in an email, portraying himself as a hero. He believed the men “in full [Muslim] attire” were on a “dry run” for a terrorist attack. The email he sent to his friends went viral, and he was exposed as a fraud. He wasn’t even on the plane! The man later admitted that he embellished the details and that he meant the account for “only a few friends.”
This man’s ten-year-old story has become an urban legend and periodically shows up on Facebook feeds.
Why would someone concoct such a story? The truth is, most of us are guilty of telling stories that make ourselves look heroic or admirable. Stretching the truth is not an uncommon occurrence. Unfortunately, this man’s story was posted, distributed through email, and because of its implications was investigated. It was discovered to be fiction.
Let’s not be too hard on this storyteller, and let’s take a lesson from what happened to him. We must be mindful of what we post as Truth.