I was working as a travel writer, flying from New York to Bangkok via Japan. Our flight was late into Tokyo/Narita, so I missed my Tokyo-Bangkok connection on Northwest and was put on an Olympic flight. My seatmate was a middle-aged man, pretty obviously American, in a rumpled grey suit, with one of the most hangdog expressions I have ever seen. Depression and disappointment and fatigue in every line of his face and angle of his body. He looked so forlorn that I found myself introducing myself. “Hi, I’m J----, I’m a freelance writer. Interesting to be on a Greek plane going to Bangkok, isn’t it?”
He widened his eyes slightly, and in a barely audible voice gave his name and added, “I’m the United States ambassador to Thailand.”
Later, without much conviction, he said, “If you have any trouble in Bangkok, give me a call.” And he handed me a business card that looked to be authentic State Department. Needless to say, I did not bother this sad gentleman during my stay in the Thai capital.