Re: International Flights - Wear Uniform?
golden cliff (c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Wed, 7 Aug 1996 18:16:31 -0500
I would vote yes to wear a uniform while traveling.
I have a couple of short stories about uniforms in foreign lands.
We were searching for a youth hostel in Lyon, France. We were dressed in
class A uniforms. We were confused and must have looked it.
A woman approached us and said her son was a Scout and asked if we needed
help. I told her the address we were looking for. She tried explaining
it to me, but the directions were complicated.
She finally smiled and said "Follow me". She literally took me by the
hand, and rode with us on the subway, transfered once to another train, and
put us on the correct bus, telling the bus driver where we
were to get off, and drawing me a walking map of how to get to the hostel
from the bus stop.
She really went out of her way to help us. We all thanked her as she
disappeared into a crowd. I call her the "Unknown Mom" who helped a
Scoutmaster and his Scouts (lost in a "mental fog") find their way.
Without the uniforms, she probably would have never appoached us.
While on a two week trip in Mexico, we were riding on a train when a
large group of Mexican Scouts boarded. They were in full uniform, we
were not in uniform at the time. They brushed past us.
We were saving our uniform for the jet ride home (We'd already worn them
a few days earlier). We went into the next car and put on our Scout
shirts. One mexican Scout saw us and soon we had 40 mexican Scouts
swarming all around us wanting to trade patches and talk with us.
Instant friends within seconds.
We were attending a Bruce Springstein concert "Born in the USA", in a
park in Paris, France. We were in full class A uniforms hoping Bruce
might spot us in the crowd (we were only 30' from right center stage) and
also because we were born in the USA and wanted everyone to know it.
Some chemically altered concert attendee decided it would be cute to rip
the american flag off the shirt of one of our Scouts. When he realized
he was surrounded by american Scouts and Scouters, he sheepishly grinned,
apologized, and quietly retreated into the crowd.
Story #4 (last one)
In Rome, Italy we had stopped one evening for pizza on our way to the
Trevi fountain. I thought it would be fun to see the Trevi Fountain lit
up at night (we had seen it in daylight the previous day). We were in
class A uniforms. This was just days after an american TWA jetliner had been
hijacked from the airport in Athens, Greece in 1985. Fringe groups were
coming out of the woodwork with anti-american demonstrations.
As we ate our pizza some american college students saw our Scout shirts
and came over to converse with us. We talked of the recent crisis and
about some anti-american sentiment that was surfacing. The students said
they were leaving Rome after dinner because they were afraid. I asked
them why. They said one of the reasons was the anti-american rally taking
place that night at the plaza surrounding Trevi Fountain. My Scouts
turned and looked at me questioningly. I decided it would be a better
idea to skip Trevi Fountain that night and stay at the hotel writing post
cards and watching american re-runs on TV (dubbed in italian).
Wearing the uniform overseas can be a positive or negative experience,
depending on the circumstances. I have always had overwhelmingly
positive experiences, with just a few potentially bad ones.
We always wear class A's on airline flights.
YIS, Cliff Golden
Scoutmaster Troop 33; DeKalb, Illinois
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City