My mother used to work in a publishing house that had three magazines related to Africa and Brazil. Once a year there used to be a party in one of the capitals of the Portuguese-speaking African countries.
One time this party was to take place in Luanda, Angola. There were special guests from the Portuguese artistic and cultural worlds making plans to attend. My mother’s job was to receive them at the Lisbon airport, help them with check-in, and direct them to the departure lounge. Often there was a good amount of time between check-in and departure, and she would socialize with them.
On this particular flight, one of the guests was the Portuguese singer-songwriter Vitorino. He was accompanied by his band members, and his nephew who was afraid of flying. My mother tried to help him stay calm but everyone could see he was still nervous. Finally, the passengers boarded and my mother remained in the airport talking with an old acquaintance from TAAG (an Angolan airline).
Suddenly they saw Vitorino’s nephew coming out of the departure lounge; he was white as snow and shaking. Apparently, when the plane was ready to take off, the boy completely panicked. Flight attendants weren’t able to calm him down, and he had to be removed from the plane.
The plane took off without him, and my mother had to take him to one of his friend’s so that he could spend the night there. The next day he went to his home in Alentejo, and as far as people know that boy has yet to fly.