Ethics Dunce: Ryan Thompson

You may have heard about this guy: he took his girlfriend up in his private plane, and pretended that the plane was about to crash as part of his set-up to propose to her. As he supposedly tried to get the plane under control to save their lives, Thompson told Carlie Kennedy to read from an emergency protocol explaining how to pull the plane out of a dive. “I genuinely did believe that we were going to die,” Kennedy told ABC News. “I felt like our lives depended on me making it through that checklist.” Then, as she read through the list, it slowly dawned that it was actually an marriage  proposal leading up to the final bullet point: “Will you marry me?” She turned to the smiling pilot, who was holding a ring. She said yes.

And then they crashed.

No, not really. And I suppose this sadistic narcissist has found a perfect mate, a naive victim who will doubtless enjoy all the hell he puts her through for his own amusement. It was a pretty good test, when you think about it. What better way to let your intended know exactly what she’s getting into, and to find out whether she’ll tolerate despicable treatment and outrageous conduct with a smile and a kiss?

Good luck, Carlie, and I mean that sincerely. Your husband to be is an Ethics Dunce, an especially cruel one, and you’re an idiot.

You’ll need all the luck you can get.

6 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Ryan Thompson

  1. I probably would have only read this post and shrugged, if Carlie did not look almost identical to someone in my family. Maybe pranking like this is part of their relationship; that’s all I could think of (in a hopeful way), all through the video. I wonder if she’ll retaliate someday after this, at some point when she can be sure of “getting” him, and tell Ryan she found out she was pregnant with triplets – and in a panic, aborted.

  2. How do I combine the boy who cried wolf with the “fool me once, shame on you” proverb?

    If they ever actually are about to crash, would she believe him?

  3. Huge abuse of trust. As a pilot, this video really bothered me. Passengers are literally trusting pilots with their lives.

    Asking someone to marry you while they are in a captive situation, like the typical public proposals you often see is already unethical but when you hold their life in your hands it is infinitely worse. What is she going to do? Say “No”?

    Suicide by aircraft is not unheard of:

    I once simply said “shit” in the cockpit when I realized I forgot to change frequency after departure and my wife practically had a heart attack. I can’t imagine ever intentionally trying to invoke that kind of fear in someone.

    • I am 100% with Fred on this one, and I am not a pilot.

      Deliberately using the life-and-death power that he had over her in that moment to put her in an extreme emotional state right before doing something that SHOULD be both memorable AND romantic is a pure, pure breach of trust. This is no different than holding a gun to her head while proposing.


  4. Oh wow. I’d have said no when I realised what was going on. I’d be so mad. I hate ‘romantic’ stunts and this one is especially cruel and immature. Propose like an adult, please. As for public proposals I think as long as you are certain the answer will be yes (you’ve been talking about getting married for a while or are already living together) and you know they don’t mind being made a spectacle of, then it’s okay. But IMO the wedding is the public display, the proposal is private.

    • I am most agreeable with the style you describe, Kerry: proposal private, wedding public. And not just because my proposal was a private one that was a total loser’s (but lucky me: despite my bumbling, she still said yes, and somehow, my luck has held; decades later, we remain together).

      I keep replaying the video of Ryan and Carlie, imagining alternative outcomes, and wondering. What if she had said no on the spot? What if she had been only non-committal? What if she had said yes but just as a panicky lie, then found out about the video, then set up her own hidden camera to record and publish her retraction in some other circumstance that would have been a “crash and burn” for Ryan? Would Ryan still have published his video, if she had said anything but yes (probably not, I am guessing)? How would he have reacted while in his pilot’s seat, for the remainder of the flight, to anything but a yes? The possibilities are indeed frightening, and not just for Ryan’s and Carlie’s sakes.

      This proposal to Carlie by Ryan is truly the most disturbing public view I have ever seen (and, I hope, that I will ever see) of what I think “should” be a private and distinctly sober and serious moment – sober and serious, despite all the joy, humor, hope, fear, anticipation, anxiety and all the other possible mixed feelings that “should” also be expected to occur in such a moment. I can only hope that a future son-in-law of mine will not be a similar prankster in a (presumably) private meeting with me about seeking my blessing of his and my daughter’s marriage.

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