Why we love Mlle. Hermis Moutardier

Aficionados of truly idiotic bungled terrorist attempts will surely recall Mlle. Hermis Moutardier, the flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami, December 22, 2001. The truly heroic Miss Moutardier subdued the undeservedly famous Richard Reid, aka the Shoe Bomber, with her pitcher of cold water.

Miss Moutardier, assisted by fellow flight attendants and passengers, demonstrated courage, resourcefulness, and presence of mind in subduing Reid, who is serving a life sentence in prison, while concurrently serving history as the very model of an incompetent aspiring terrorist.

But what specifically makes Mlle. Moutardier heroic to me is her simple likeness in style, as I recall her account, to Jael, wife of Heber and slayer of Sisera, commander of the Canaanite army and enemy of Israel.

Jael’s heroism is recounted in Judges 4-5. Basically, Sisera is running away from a lost battle, and shows up at Jael’s door, asking for water. She gives him milk, and a festive bowl of tasty curds. He lies down for a nap.  Jael takes up some tent pegs and a handy mallet, and nails Sisera’s temples to the tent floor. Note the happy ending: “And the land had rest for forty years” (Judges 5:31).

Mlle. Moutardier is a freedom fighter, one after the model of Jael, and I say, good for her. Flight attendants are already designated as part of the team that can save a plane in a crisis when the flight crew is incapacitated. Let’s hope the override controls, that everyone hopes will never be needed, will be in the secure possession of trusted crew, including flight attendants, and not locked up in the cockpit with some psycho killer narcissist.

Regardless of the abysmal probability of Reid’s potential success at lighting up his shoes,  Miss Moutardier stands out as a hero to me, for initiating the subdual of an insanely hostile passenger with her ice-water pitcher. She used a symbol of hospitality to defend her home—the home-in-transit of 197 people. She came forward in the manner and spirit of Jael, whose hospitality led to the demise of a man who threatened her home and her nation. May God keep women like this coming.


Filed under Action & Being

7 responses to “Why we love Mlle. Hermis Moutardier

  1. Hermis

    Thank you so much for your kindness …very nice article.
    Hermis Moutardier

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hermis

    Thank you so much for your kindness …very nice article.
    Hermis Moutardier

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your courage, Mademoise. The nation of France, and specifically all the passengers on that famously terrifying flight, owe you unending thanks. You are, and will always be, a national heroine and my heroine as well, even though I am an American. God bless you!


  3. Pingback: Mlle. Moutardier: Heroine with humility | Eel Creek Chronicles

  4. Hermis Moutardier

    Thanks for such beautiful article.
    I am honored you take time to write it

    Liked by 1 person

    • WOW! You, a true heroine, honor me with such a compliment! You likely saved a couple of hundred lives! I have never stopped remembering your selflessness. Your courage subdued a potential mass murderer who will spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison.

      You deserve honor and praise for your quick thinking and resourceful actions. In addition to the human lives on board, you saved a very valuable aircraft as well.

      May God uphold you always, Mlle. Moutardier.


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