A woman delayed her flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou, China, for hours on Tuesday after chucking loose change into the plane's engine like pennies into a wishing well, the American Foreign Press reports.
As passengers on the China Southern Airlines flight trudged up a set of boarding stairs on the tarmac, they reportedly saw the 80-year-old woman throw coins at the plane's engine. According to police, the act was her attempt "to pray for safety"—which, as a few nervous Air Asia passengers learned this weekend, isn't that uncommon during a stressful flight.
A few folks alerted the ground crew, who spent the next several hours digging the change out of the jet engine like an old crusty couch. They recovered nine coins in all—and though eight missed their target, one tiny sliver of yuan made it inside.
Police apprehended the passenger, and the maintenance crew conducted a thorough sweep of the plane's engine just to make sure it wouldn't burst into a million little pieces mid-flight. Somehow, the airline managed to convince everyone onboard they weren't going to die, and sent the flight on its way a little before 6 PM—more than five hours after its scheduled departure. It touched down in Guangzhou at about 8:30 PM.
Those onboard might have been bummed about the delay, but things could've been much worse. The pilot reportedly said the coins—blessed and lucky as they may be—could seriously damage the engine, potentially causing it to fail while flying 40,000 feet above the earth.
When you consider all the horrifying shit that happens on airplanes, a few hours on the tarmac before an altogether successful flight isn't really that bad. At least the folks aboard flight CZ380 didn't have to deal with a poo so toxic it grounded a plane, or a sleep-deprived 72-year-old who wouldn't stop doing yoga, ultimately rerouting the entire flight.
Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.