The Choice Between Incredible or Inexcusable

By Doug Armey

We flew to Tucson to visit our son who we hadn’t seen in nearly five months.  We planned our arrival at 7:30 p.m. to enjoy dinner together.  It wasn’t to be.

After a short layover in Phoenix we boarded.  A few minutes before departure the captain announced, “I have good news and bad news.”

I thought, “No, that’s never good news.”

“We’re boarded and ready on time.  But the bad news is our first officer was sent to another flight so we need to find first officer.”

I looked around the cabin to see if we had any volunteers but I guess it doesn’t work that way.

After trying to find a first officer for 45 minutes they cancelled the flight.

And then the comedy began.

We had two young and obviously inexperienced gate agents trying to figure out what to do.

First, they asked for our boarding passes if we wanted to go by bus.  I asked, “So can we still fly and if so you now have our boarding passes?”  Flustered response.

Next they announced our luggage was in baggage claim and we could get it.  I said, “You have our boarding passes and we can’t come back through security.”  Bewilderment.

Then they announced our carry-on luggage, that we had gate checked, was being sent to the baggage claim area also.  I reminded them, “We have no claim checks for that luggage.”  Oops.

This went on for two hours, with the passengers milling around impatiently in the waiting area.   Finally, they boarded us on buses to take us to Tucson.

We missed dinner with our son.  A nicely dressed young woman was in tears obviously missing some important occasion.  I overheard two couples chatting, “I swore I would never go on this airline again.  But after their merger I decided to try them one more time.  No more.”

I thought it was ironic our gate was right next to the first class lounge for this airline.  They saved money by busing us rather than flying.  What would the attitude of the passengers been if a supervisor with authority had innovated?  Imagine her coming on the scene and announcing, “We’re terribly sorry about this inconvenience.  So you’re our guests in the first class lounge.  Dinner will be provided and there is wine, beer & soft drinks.  Please join us there where you can relax, have dinner and a glass of wine while we get everything arranged for your transportation.”

The airline would still have broken even on the total cost but made some long time fans.  Instead they created a group of people who not only won’t be back but have already told their friends about the lousy service.

I like what I read recently by Jack Canfield, “It’s rare these days, but it’s the hallmark of high achievers who know that exceeding expectations helps you stand above the crowd. . . .  Be willing to treat everyone like you’d treat your dearest friend.”

Wow!  That’s a bit different than our experience.

The bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. “(Colossians 3:23-25, NIV)

So here’s a question for each of us is, when running a business or doing our jobs and the inevitable hits. Are we trying to turn it into a positive experience or simply make it go away?  Huge difference in the results.

Some thoughts about this experience.

First, we shouldn’t be surprised by the unavoidable set backs. They will hit occasionally. The key is to plan ahead while we’re thinking clearly.  Don’t wait for the problem and then try to figure out what to do when everyone is under pressure.  The solutions will be a lot better when everyone is calm.

Second, I like how Jack Canfield puts it, “Treat everyone like your dearest friend.” How would I solve this problem if my best friend or spouse were involved?  How would I solve it if someone really important was there?  I need to treat everyone with that same importance.  It’s amazing how the tension releases and people return that respect.

Third, most defensive reactions flow out of fear. I watched this that night as the attendants were fearful everyone was mad at them.  Amazingly, the passengers were quite patient.  But the attendants became defensive and lashed out at people who simply wanted answers.

Fear creates that. The antidote for me is to remember that God will work it all out for good in my life.  Definitely reduces the stress levels and helps me act in positive ways.

And finally, I’m reminded that my inheritance comes from God. He is blessing me no matter what. That takes the pressure off everyday inconveniences.  They may be important but often not life changing.  Yet, the peace that flows out of that truly is.

Ever get blindsided like this?  What helps you?

If this post has helped you please let me know and share it with a friend.  And if you haven’t already please subscribe.  I appreciate it.

Categories : Success

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