I thought I was getting out on an early flight home. Time was tight but this was a small airport and my gate was literally less than 10 feet from security. I heard my name called over the intercom as I was collecting my bags. The TSA agent wanted to do extra screening of one of my bags, of course, so I stepped aside, made eye contact with the gate agent and yelled out “I’m here. I’ll be there as soon as they let me go.”
Within a couple of minutes I was ready to board. I didn’t expect what I heard, “Sorry, the flight is closed. You’re going to have to take the next one.” “You have got to be kidding me!” I was just incredulous. “Didn’t you see and hear me?” I asked the agent who didn’t bother looking up from the computer. “I waited over 4 minutes.” She didn’t budge. I will not write down the thoughts that flooded my mind on what to say to this woman. The only thing I said was “one day when you’re trying to get home you’ll run into someone like you and you’ll know how this feels like.”
But this is not a blog about the bad service experience from the American Airlines agent, but what happened afterwards. Moments later I had a great exchange with a couple of young people at the snack area across from the gate. They witness my whole ordeal and were sympathetic: “man, that really stinks.” After much debate and discussion we figured out how to get a low carb, low fat, high protein meal out of their limited and mostly fried menu.
As I ate my double turkey wheat wrap, I thought of my predicament, which in light of everything else in life wasn’t much of one at all. I readjusted my attitude and decided that perhaps my purpose in being there longer was to bless instead of blast someone. Trust me, that’s not usually what goes through my mind when I’m stranded in small airports. I got up, walked up to the helpful young man behind the counter and gave him a tip.
A very big tip.
His eyes got big and he looked back at me, and before he could say anything, I said, “thank you for working hard and doing your job well.” Instantly I settled down. Just a few minutes before I was plotting on how to push the sour gate agent downstairs while making it look like an accident, but now I was enjoying the reaction of my new best friend at the snack bar. “This has turned out ok,” I thought to myself.
My personal challenge and I’ll extend it to you as well is a simple one: next time our day doesn’t go as planned, instead of letting the circumstances makes us mad, let’s focus that energy into blessing someone else—particularly someone whom we’ll never see again. That might just make all the difference.
What’s your most memorable bad day? What happened?