If you grew up in a Haitian household and you and/or members of your family travelled to or from the US of A in the 80s and the 90s, your family took cutlery home from the plane.
I don't like to make blanket statements, but this is one I'd bet is 98 to 99% true. And I don't bet.
Every single time I mention the 4 sets of AA cutlery we had at home, people's reaction is invariably: I thought my family was the only one who did that.
You are not alone. Tens of thousands of Haitian families stand we you. And I believe that we're responsible, in part, for airlines using plastic cutlery in coach.
We didn't do this out of need. If your family could afford travelling, they could afford cutlery. Also, we knew we were wrong. We can all admit it now, this was a tacky thing to do (hella tacky!). This is why we snuck them off the plane. If 3 of us were travelling together, we'd leave with one set. It would take some people 3 trips to gather a single set. We tried not to be that obvious about it.
I don't think we considered it to be stealing. We snuck around because we didn't think it was the classy thing to do.
You know how we are. In the Olympics of judgment we, as a people, win the gold every time.
We judge folks who travel with buckets, multiple hats and ti chèz ba (small chairs). We'll sit with total strangers and collaborate on judging other people. We don't always use words. An eye roll, a nod, a head shake, a sigh. We'll share that fleeting moment with a stranger and then go about minding our and everyone else's business. And I love us for this. I also hate us for this.
Back in the days, we went a step further with people who brought food on the plane. This was a capital offense. Little did we know that they were at the forefront of an entire new movement.
If you're new at travelling, you are definitely being treated poorly nowadays. (This is not a rant. I've already done this here.)
I travelled to Canada and the US of A as a kid. And let me tell you, it was something. (I'm starting to sound like my mom when she's telling me stories about how things used to be.)
Airlines would serve a snack (remember those peanuts? I'll take them over pretzels any day!) AND a meal on the flight from PauP to NYC or Montreal. We're talking about flights lasting between 3.5 and 4.5 hours. Nowadays all you get are pretzel. Oh! And you can also purchase stuff from the menu. *eye roll*
And they treated passengers like royalty. I have memories of my first trip to Montreal. The flight attendants were amazing. They gave me a toy (I still have it) and drawing material. I felt like a princess. Fast forward 30+ year. I cringe when I have to fly with that same company. Quality service is a hit and miss.
So, yeah, 2 or 3 decades ago, bringing food on the plane was also perceived as tacky. Why bring food when you'd get a meal? Well, maybe they didn't like airplane food. Who does that?
Nowadays, ahem, me.
Those who started bringing food on the plane in the 80s and 90s are the real OGs, though. They have mastered the art of packing their meal while respecting luggage limitations. They spend less money on airport food, because taking that meal with them is on their checklist. While I go from restaurant to restaurant to find a decent sandwich they make their way to the gate. Because they've already got it covered.
If you're part of the 1 to 2% of Haitian families who travelled back then and didn't bring cutlery home, you must be regretting not grabbing your very own AA utensils. Don't. See, my people took another 4 sets for my grandma's house. We covered your contribution to the movement.