A Canadian man has found himself the subject of some serious scorn (and a few criminal charges) after his poorly thought out prank ends up turning around an entire plane.
28 year-old James Potock—who calls himself an artist—freely admitted his intention when he pulled the stunt was to gain attention and hopefully find himself as a viral video.
Well James, guess what?
Like most cautionary tales about wishes, this one didn't get granted in exactly the way he was hoping. Instead of applause or deep introspection or whatever the self-styled artist was hoping for, he is going viral because everyone is really really mad at him.
So what did he do to earn so much ire? Let's start from the top.
He boarded a WestJet flight from Toronto to Jamaica along with about 250 other passengers and the flight crew. At some point during the flight, James (wearing a bright pink hoodie and a face mask so he was extra noticeable) stood up and announced that he had just come back from China and he wasn't feeling well.
But sometimes it's not what you say, it's how you say it. For that, let's fast-forward to an interview James did after everything went down. A reporter asked him to explain what he did.
And explain he did.
"I stood up, I said 'I just returned from a flight from Hunan province.' Umm, I might have said 'This is the capital for coronavirus.' and then I said 'I don't feel too well.' "
With coronavirus being high on everyone's list of worries, his announcement obviously caused some concern. James claims he intended for it to be a joke and he was only trying to create a viral video.
Nobody on board the flight found it funny, but James got his viral video wish.
The flight had no choice but to turn around. They couldn't risk spreading the virus in Jamaica, where they were heading, on the off chance that James was truly sick.
When the flight landed back in Canada, James was removed while the other passengers jeered at him in collective annoyance. He had just changed the travel plans of well over 200 people, delaying their vacations, wasting their money, messing up reservations, etc.
The people were not pleased.
The whole plane was like:
His deplaning, and the jeering of the other passengers, was caught on video. It's that video that went viral and now James is being hailed as pretty much the absolute worst.
See, not only did he cause his flight to have to turn around and land in Toronto, forcing everyone aboard to lose time in Jamaica, but the return flight on that same airplane also had to be canceled. Essentially, James also stranded 200+ people on the small island.
Those people may not have had hotels, or any money left to get one, book new flights, etc.
James did issue an apology during his interview, telling the reporter that he felt remorse as soon as he was told the plane was turning around.
Let's just say he is incredibly unpopular online right now.
So that knob who pulled the corona virus prank on that @westjet flight is a wannabe rap artist on SoundCloud, and h… https://t.co/oe0MU6dox3— Ian MacKinnon (@Ian MacKinnon) 1580942053.0
@BlayTopher @WestJet Fair. That’s why I chose not to name/tag him in any way, but still try and get the message out… https://t.co/9gczb5JZPq— Ian MacKinnon (@Ian MacKinnon) 1580951611.0
"It's not like I said I had a bomb straped to me"-James Potok. No, you just threatened peoples health with a prank… https://t.co/I6w3ytbzKG— Ryan Carroll (@Ryan Carroll) 1580903672.0
@frankjofo such a smackable face...👋🏻— t.baby🦇⚡️🛹 (@t.baby🦇⚡️🛹) 1580978807.0
@JessannReece @blogTO The news in tv said he did this before , last time on a flight to JA he got up and told every… https://t.co/tlg8IjjIyS— 1nce.A.lftm 🇨🇦 🌍 (@1nce.A.lftm 🇨🇦 🌍) 1580958194.0
@MJmcnult What a $&@?ing loser and he should have to reimburse everyone involved including @WestJet for any costs.… https://t.co/1CqGE9fXL0— Doug Bowes (@Doug Bowes) 1580868695.0
@imaaniwaalker @vmochama Exactly. I'd like to see new laws enacted for people who truly disrupt society/put folks… https://t.co/jN7zPiNsws— WylieDeeds (@WylieDeeds) 1580920229.0
WestJet declined to comment except to say that it is a matter for the courts now. Since this is not his first time disrupting a flight, it's possible he will see himself on no-fly lists soon.
We have a feeling the hundreds of passengers he inconvenienced and caused damages to with his "jokes" would probably be OK with that.