by Katharine Giovanni
Always leave people better than you found them.
A few years ago I was in Las Vegas on my way home from teaching a seminar. When I got to the airport, I found out that my flight had been delayed which caused a bunch of us to miss our connecting flights. Ah well! I tend to be calm about these sorts of things because there really is no use getting mad about it. In fact, I was cracking jokes to the woman in back of me to lighten the mood a bit.
The gentleman in front of me, however, was different. He was so mad that I could almost see steam coming out of his ears. He was yelling and screaming at this poor young girl behind the counter. It wasn’t her fault that our flight was delayed, but he didn’t seem to care about that. He spent about 10 minutes banging the counter with his hand and yelling at her in loud tones, and then stormed off. As I watched him go, I wondered why on earth would you yell at the person who has the power to get you home?
Since I was next in line, I walked up to her counter and immediately noticed that she was doing everything in her power to stop herself from crying in front of me. She was so distraught that her hands were shaking! My heart melted. So I put my bags down and looked her right in the eyes. I then told her to take as much time as she needed to get herself together because I was sure her supervisor wasn’t going to let her go on a break. I then started to gently talk to her while she wiped her eyes and took a few deep breaths.
We chatted about the man and his situation for a few minutes until she had calmed down. I got her to laugh about it and she was able to move forward. She then put me on a flight and I headed towards my gate. As I walked towards security, I looked down at the ticket and was stunned when I saw that she had given me a seat in first class! Plus there was a certificate that bought me dinner in the airport.
As I’ve said many many times … what you put out in this world, you’ll get back. Treat people like you yourself would like to be treated. That’s the true key to it all.