Here’s something that’s happened to just about everyone who flies coach class. You get stuck in the middle seat between two big dudes or end up on a small plane and find yourself contorted like an accordion on the down squeeze.
Your first reaction is a frown and a choice profanity. The next is trying to figure out some way to get yourself out of the predicament by begging the flight attendant for a roomier ride or trading with another passenger who isn’t quite so tall or rotund.
Which brings us to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Did you hear what his plan was when he was assigned a seat he didn’t like on a flight from Paris to Dallas?
He offered someone $1,500 for their seat. Cash. Under the table. Free and clear.
The passenger turned it down.
Of course, we know this happened because another passenger, a former Colorado State defensive lineman, Elisara Edwards, was nosy enough to capture the attempted transaction on his phone. By the time he was wheels-down at DFW airport, the clip had sprouted wings.
“It’s just gone viral,” Edwards told USA Today. “… Social media’s crazy.”
It seems Edwards and his fiancee, Jennifer Johnson, already had their seats in coach of the American Airlines flight last Friday when he saw something going on in front of him. Edwards is pretty media savvy. He had recently appeared on NBC’s “The Titan Games” and had his phone out making a video for his family and friends.
And there appeared Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP. Edwards could see him chatting up another passenger and quickly determined that Newton was trying to pay the guy for his seat so he could have some more leg room. Newton is 6-foot-6. That’s a lot of room. We figure he offered about $150 an inch.
“He asked the guy in front of us about his seat and if he can trade seats, and (the other passenger) asked him how tall he was,” Edwards said Monday. “He said he was 6-6, and the guy goes, ‘Well, I’m 6-4, and I’m with my buddies here, so I won’t be able to give up my seat.’
“And he asked him if he would trade for $1,000, and he said, ‘No.’ And he’s like, ‘$1,500?’ And he said, ‘No.’
‘Cash?’ And he said, ‘No.’ And then he just walked back to his seat.
“I just had my camera out at the right moment.”
It’s no big surprise that Edwards would know who Newton was. He played for the Rams in 2012 and 2013.
“I woke up the next day, and it was about 15,000 views and like 1,000 shares or something like that, and later on that afternoon, I looked at my phone again, and it was at about a million. The next day, it was at 3 million.
“It just snowballed. Everybody started hitting me up. I just asked for credit.”
According to the USA Today story, the Newton incident was the second time in two weeks Edwards had a video go viral. He’d been in France to watch his finance’s sister play for Cameroon at the World Cup where his engagement proposal was filmed on an IPhone by another Johnson sister.
Edwards says he realized it probably was uncool that he decided to shoot the Newton incident.
“It was kind of an awkward situation,” Edwards said. “I know (Newton) was trying to be incognito, trying to keep to himself. I wasn’t bothering him or trying to talk to him or anything, and then that video.
“I didn’t think anything of it. I posted it, and it just went out of control.”