This Wednesday, at the Phoenix airport, a man jumped a fence and ran up to a landing Southwest Airlines jet and slapped it. Hard, right on one of the engine housings, which is widely considered to be the metaphorical cheek of the airplane. It is not clear at this point if the man was demanding satisfaction.
The man, who was homeless, 49 years old, and named Robert Bump, was spotted by airport officials, who contacted the pilot to shut down his engines so as to not suck Bump into one of them, which would have julienned him.
Bump was taken in to police custody, but the motives for the plane-slapping are not yet known. It is not believed the slapping was conducted with a pair of folded gloves, which would suggest he's challenging the plane to a duel. Arizona is one of the states in the union left with no laws making dueling illegal, so the man and the plane may be legally able to conduct their duel if that is determined to be the provocation for the slapping.
We're still waiting on other key details to explain the slapping. If the man had tears in his eyes and a slightly quivering, yet firmly set, mouth (pending surveillance footage analysis), and stories about the plane being seen in the company of another man the night before at an airport bar in Houston can be confirmed, the motivation may in fact be a love triangle.
Black box audio recordings are being studied to determine if the plane whistled at the man or said, via its external loudspeakers, anything suggesting that Bump should work it, or had a nice rack, or inquired if he'd like some fries to go with that shake.
Personally, I'm hoping that the man and the plane can get together and try and work things out.