A little-publicized event occurred this past month in San Diego. A whacked-out passenger boarding an American Airlines jet yelled, “I can’t take this flight!” grabbed his carry-on luggage and blew past the flight attendants and off the plane. Airport security was notified but was never able to locate the distraught—or, who knows, dangerous—passenger for questioning.

In the meantime, the Dallas-Fort Worth bound flight crew must have thought, “No big deal.” They just loaded up the remaining passengers, shut the door, put the plane in gear and drove away from the gate.

The passengers, however had other ideas—like checking to make sure the guy didn’t leave any surprises on board. Mind you, these were the passengers, not the pilots or cabin crew, who decided, “Wait a minute, Jack! We’re not going anywhere until you check out this airplane.”

According to a report carried on Internet Broadcasting Systems, “Federal security director Mike Aguilar [said that] nervous passengers who remained on board objected, and the captain returned the plane to its gate so that it could be checked for security breaches.”

I can imagine that those passengers could be characterized as “nervous.” I sure as hell would be. But I’d also throw in adjectives such as smart, assertive, conscientious, and responsible. Those passengers deserve a commendation for taking control of their own fate and having the guts to insist that the pilots (who could be armed!) listen to them.

In every presentation I make and every workshop I lead on the subject of travel security, the theme I hammer home is always the same: Take responsibility for your own safety while traveling. Here is a group that did exactly that. Good for them!