My husband and I are celebrating our ten year anniversary this September. Making it ten whole years is a huge accomplishment in my eyes. I’m not easy to get along with, 😉 To celebrate we chose to go St. Thomas for a week. It was amazing. Right up until the final morning when I received an email from our airline (Spirit) letting us know our initial flight out had been delayed by 2 ½ hours. To make it even more fun, that meant that we would miss our connecting flight to Dallas from Ft. Lauderdale.
What were we to do then? How does that even work? I called 800 number after 800 number trying to find someone who could help me…all I was told was that I needed to speak to the gate agents. You know, the ones AT THE AIRPORT. That didn’t help me! Despite not leaving until late afternoon, our whole last morning was super stressful. We drove to the airport to learn that the solution was to fly us to Chicago from Ft. Lauderdale, spend the night, and then fly back to Dallas the next morning. It took over two hours to be told what our plan was going to be.
At the ticket counter, I felt sorry for the young ladies checking us in. Everyone was cranky, it was hot (no air conditioning! Huh??) and nobody liked the solutions being offered. I asked when it was my turn if it stressed the workers out when they learned about delays or cancellations. Her response? “No, you just get used to it.” She was very matter of fact, un-moved by everyone’s stress and situations. The couple in front of me had arranged for their animals to be dropped off at their house, now no one was going to be there. The couple behind me weren’t going to be able to get back home until Saturday! Yikes! One lady had very strict, dire almost, instructions that she’d better be at work the following day. There were no allowances made. Luckily, I had grandparents on standby, and thankfully, my fire fighting husband had an extra day before his next shift. None of these situations impacted the gate agent’s willingness to help or be empathetic to the situation. It was what it was. There was no apology given, or even an explanation shared. They very indifferently went about their business.
One of the refrains I’ve heard is that education should “be more like a business”.
I hope my staff is always able to maintain eye contact, provide a smile, and do what we can to help who is front of us. I hope I am always seen as someone who is solution focused, and open to listen and help. I hope they walk away feeling heard, supported, and encouraged. May we never become immune to the circumstances and situations our parents and students end up in…never should we “just get used to it”.
We are more than a business. Especially THAT business.
Home sweet home,