Flying really does bring out the worst in people.
It is almost as though the basic rules of being a decent, civilised human being cease to exist as soon as a plane takes off.
Arguably the worst thing a person can do on a flight is make the confined space of an aircraft feel even smaller – worse, still, is if they do that with a rogue part of their body, like a foot.
This is exactly what the McCaw family, New Zealand sporting royalty, faced on the first leg of their family trip to support the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup in France.
All Blacks legend Richie McCaw and former Black Sticks player Gemma were left unimpressed after someone (very literally) put their foot into their personal space.
Gemma was keeping her followers up to date on the family trip – with the couple’s daughters Charlotte, 4, Grace, 2, and five-month-old Ella – through the airport, but it was “footgate” that made toes curl.
She posted a video to her Instagram story panning around her daughter’s temporary play area on their economy seats before revealing a bare foot resting on the armrest beside the child.
“Would everyone be OK with this situation? Or do I say something,” the Olympian wrote on her stories, adding a laughing face emoji.
The hockey star shared another video shortly after, making light of the situation while showing her husband’s clearly unimpressed face.
“Lovely pedi but I think I’ll have to put my foot down for this one,” she wrote, Richie could be seen across the aisle shaking his head.
About two hours later, Gemma revealed the foot was still there; and while Gemma didn’t want to “put (her) foot in it”, their eldest daughter Charlotte was ready to take matters into her own hands.
She showed a note the 4-year-old wrote to the passenger behind them that read: “Please put your foot down”.
After keeping her fans on their toes through the ordeal, Gemma shared a final and happy update on “footgate”, writing that a “hostess stepped in and asked her to kindle remove her foot from the seat”.
“All is well,” she signed off.
Thankfully, footage seems to have done nothing to dampen the family trip to France for the Rugby World Cup, with Gemma updating her followers from Singapore.
Although she said she didn’t want foot gate to “become a big deal”, and that it was a “bit of fun” and she feels a “bit silly” with the attention it got, she was thankful for the messages of support.
“It was all sorted and everyone’s happy,” she said of the incident.
“But thank you for your messages of support and encouragement to say something.”
But Gemma’s followers were less moderate in the comments of the family photo she posted before they jumped on the plane, many slamming the passenger’s “disgusting” act.
“Give that disgusting foot a shove after your daughter has drawn all over it,” one commenter suggested.
Another said she should tell the passenger to “bugger off and to put on some socks”.
Someone else said they would’ve gone a step further and “pushed the foot off” with their own foot.
“It defies belief how uncultured, rude and self-entitled people are these days! Absolutely disgusting,” they added.
One person joked the family were “off to watch some footie” in France.