As an aviation geek, I love to get to the airport early, get checked in and have time to watch the planes. On Wednesday, I was at my gate in plenty of time to see my departure time change from 2:45 to 5:00. I quickly went up to one of the gate agents to ask what my options would be.
That notice at our gate caused others to get up from their seats, and soon most of the people on our flight were in line to make a change. One of the customers behind me started complaining loudly about the delay to the other gate agent. It seemed to be making her feel uncomfortable. The reality was it was not her fault. We were told the delays were caused by air traffic control in the New York area.
While the gate agent in front of me went about working on my situation, I briefly made eye contact with the other gate agent. I looked at the expression on her face and said in a relatively loud voice, "Why did you make our plane delayed? I mean really, did you have to mess with the instruments in the cockpit?" Her face broke out into a huge smile. "Yes, I did, I was trying to ruin your afternoon." That broke the ice, and soon most people in the line were laughing, or at the very least, smiling.
The agents that day made the best out of a crummy situation. Honestly, they had done nothing wrong, delays are usually no one's fault. The two women working our flight were indeed wonderful. They communicated often throughout the afternoon, they were cheerful and made small talk while trying to accommodate the delays, and the people in line with me responded to their positive nature.
I was so inspired by their great work, I tweeted about it and got a response from United Airlines.
Regardless of the situation, we always have a choice about how we treat other people. We will never go wrong when we choose kindness. As educators, we literally have hundreds of interactions with our students, their families, our colleagues, the community, as well as each other. When we choose kindness, we put our emphasis on the relationships in front of us, even if those relationships are as fleeting as a gate agent and a flying customer.
Those singular kind moments genuinely make a difference.
|Photo courtesy of www.sweatpantsandcoffee.com|