Does life throw us curveballs we find frustrating? For sure! I guess I should just speak for myself, but I know I have my share of annoyances, bumps in the road, flight delays, etc. This past week, I was working in upstate New York on changing the culture in a small school district with really great administrators who are committed to help their teacher become better and alter the culture of their schools and their district for the better. Dave (my dear husband of 31 years as of August 1st) came with me because I broke my wrist a few weeks ago in Cabo (I wish I had a more exciting story to tell besides the fact that I broke my fall down three steps off the tee box on the golf course). I can type (but my wrist starts aching pretty seriously after a few minutes) but my handwriting is pretty atrocious. I'm not allowed to lift anything, lest the fracture gets displaced any further and we have to look at surgery----no thanks. I've learned how to do so many things with my left hand that it's never had the opportunity to do as the right arm gets center-stage. The thought of traveling by myself was a little daunting, but the real truth is the weather in Texas has been over 100 degrees for the past few weeks, so I didn't figure it would hurt Dave's feelings too much to head north for a week. Suffice it to say, Dave literally became my right-hand man the entire trip, and he now has another jewel added to his angel crown for all he did for me. He lugged all the luggage (including his golf clubs, of course---what's a guy supposed to do while his wife works during the day, anyway?); he helped wash my hair; he learned how to dry my hair; he cut up my food (yes, seriously), and so much more.
In addition to doing all the THINGS for me, Dave has always helped me in more ways than I can list, including modeling how to catch flies with honey. He is most definitely a charmer, and he has taught me how to ask nicely for upgrades in hotels, for one. Yes, I could say, "I'm a Hilton Diamond member; be sure you give me an upgrade", but that would likely not work as well as Dave's line, "Diamond status gets us the Penthouse Suite, right?" with an adorable smile. Simply asking specifically for what we want is something Dave has taught me how to do. Notice I said "asking", not "demanding". I think there is a huge difference. The same holds true for having status on the airline to which I have been loyal for over 10 years. I always tell people that every single airline is going to have weather or maintenance delays, but stay true and loyal to an airline and they will stay loyal to you. If a flight is so delayed I am going to miss my connecting flight, I already have a new boarding pass along with hotel and food vouchers (if necessary) ready and waiting for me when I exit the plane. But it is no surprise that air travel is one of those things that aggravates people to the point of sometimes simply blowing up. You don't have to search too long on the internet to find examples of people getting kicked off airplanes for being rude to the flight attendants or even other passengers.
Yesterday was a prime example. Since I paid for my airline ticket and bought Dave's ticket with miles, they couldn't tie us together in such a way that it would put him on the upgrade list for 1st class. As a frequent traveler, I got bumped up to 1st class on three out of four of our flights. However, a 1st class seat does me no good without my "right hand man". Plus, we want to watch Netflix shows together, so I'd rather sit back a few rows but together than sit by myself in 1st class. On two of the three flights on which I had been upgraded, we had a gate agent put Dave on the upgrade list (and we both ended up in 1st class on one of the flights). On that flight, we got to the gate and asked the gate agent if she could try to put us together in 1st class so Dave could help me. She was LOVELY (likely because we asked nicely and didn't assume this would be a "given"). After this got resolved, a guy walked up with a beautiful white Great Pyrenees service dog to get in line before the flight boarded. A few feet away, a woman was Facetiming a relative, and she started complaining to her family member how much she hated dogs and how "that dog better not be on our flight". We thought it was pretty apparent the dog was indeed going to be boarding the flight. The already irate lady started cussing about letting "damn animals" on planes. Okay, I get it. If you aren't a dog lover, you might not appreciate the absolute beauty of this animal, but it didn't stop there. The woman (who had previously been sitting in a wheelchair but had been walking around while Facetiming with her family member) marched up to the adorable and lovely gate agent to say "That dog better not be on the flight with me". The gate agent assured her, with a precious smile, that the dog was with its handler and shouldn't cause her any problems. The completely out of control lady said, "It can't be on the flight because I am allergic to dogs". The gate agent gave the lady the option of staying on the flight or being booked on the next flight out ( which could, in truth, have 10 dogs on it versus the one on this flight, but I was just watching the show at this point), to which the furious lady said the gate agent had an "attitude" (I've never understood this----doesn't everyone have some type of an attitude?) and "Don't you see I'm disabled? I just walked over here, but my wheelchair is over there". That poor gate agent had to deal with the insanity of the woman and asked her to step aside as we were already in the midst of pre-boarding. I made a point of telling the gate agent how much we appreciated her and told her she was doing an AMAZING job. As Dave and I sat down in our seats, I said, "Wouldn't it have just been easier for the irate woman to simply slow down, take a breath, and then ask if there was an open seat as far apart from the dog as possible? If I were that dog, I feel I would say a big 'Amen' to that solution anyway."
Instead of whining about the problem, what might happen if we think ahead about a solution that can wind up being a win/win for everyone? What is an example of this for you? I would love to hear some of your stories. In the meantime, I think honey is on sale at the grocery store this week!
woman rude about dog
do what is asked of you by police
ask for what you want