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Frustrated Air Traveler Takes Off His Clothes

Most of us could identify with Neil Melly's frustration. Air travel often involves delays, denials, and desperate circumstances. Melly was in Los Angeles International Airport, attempting to get to Australia. Problems developed when Melly was unable to purchase a ticket because he lacked a valid credit card.

Most of us might slink away in embarrassment. A flight from LAX to the other side of the world is not small change, and without a credit card, most of us would just go home.

Neil Melly isn't most of us. He ignored that little humiliation and went on to shatter the shame barrier. Hours later, Melly angrily stripped off all his clothes and returned to make a dash for the airport runway. Baggage handlers watched as Melly scaled a fence topped with three strands of barbed wire, fearlessly and without injury. Then Neil sprinted across the tarmac toward a jumbo jet and crawled inside the wheel well.

Most of us might have simply been trying to hide, but Neil Melly picked a plane that was on the moveā€”an Australian plane. The dangers were great. As airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles pointed out, "He could have been sucked up by an engine," or crushed when the landing gear was retracted. "And if not he very likely would have frozen to death during the 15 1/2 hour flight at 30,000 feet while wearing no clothes."

Pilots stopped the plane, and Melly was coaxed from his hiding place and arrested. The official charge was trespassing. Apparently there's no law against poor problem solving, anger mismanagement, or being the butt of jokes.

Most of us lose our cool from time to time. We might not pull a "Melly" and streak our way into the news. Instead, we may yell or point fingers or throw something or smolder with fury. It doesn't match getting naked and climbing barbed wire, but it's just about as useful.

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