The big hoo haw over the JFK air traffic controller who got busted for letting his young kids clear planes for takeoff is dividing people into two basic camps: Those who thought it was pretty cute and the rest of us who like an adult in charge when they leave the ground.
I know, I know, all you "airplane experts" out there keep saying that nobody was in danger; that this has been blown out of proportion because the father was supervising his children and this involved off-gate departure instructions for airplanes taxiing around the airport. And I admit, the pilots involved do seem amused in the recordings that have been released.
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Now that the air traffic controller is suspended and probably going to get fired, his twins are horrified that "Daddy's in trouble because of me," the dad's brother-in-law told the Daily News this week.
"The guy is the safest guy in the world. He wouldn't do anything that would hurt or put anybody in jeopardy. We all bring our kids to work. That just happens to be his profession," the brother-in-law said.
Sorry, but some jobs just aren't fit for bringing kids into the workplace, let alone allowing them to man the controls. Along with air traffic controller, I'd say it's wise to follow the Every Child Left Behind credo if you're a surgeon, cop, lion tamer, firefighter, emergency response worker, secret service agent, airplane pilot, subway driver or that guy carrying around the briefcase with the atomic bomb button in it.
(Come to think of it, I go to work to get away from my kids, so why don't you all just keep those brats at home. It may take a village to raise a child, but do you have to bring him to the office, too?)
I don't care if people weren't technically at risk in this instance. When you have a job that involves keeping people alive, you're expected to have a certain degree of professionalism, not to mention common sense. What does it say about this dad's judgment that he sat his kids down at the controls and let them give commands in their oh-so-cute-but-indecipherable baby voices to a least five pilots, particularly in our current climate of terrorist threats, airplanes dropping out of the skies and pilots overshooting their destinations while on their laptops?
We are tense when we're flying up there, dude, don't you get it?
This dad's supporters argue that we shouldn't punish him because he was being an active dad, sharing time with his kids. Are our standards for fathers so low these days that we're willing to overlook FAA violations because this guy got in some quality time with his kids in the control tower? If this father was hoping to teach his kids about the realities of work then he's probably delivered the best lesson: When you screw up, you lose your job.