I defended repetition of message last week, assuming the issue is important and the implementation is still lacking. Hence my latest paean to the late Ann Richards. Remember: "Pissed off at a glitch? Fine. But be nice. Very nice. Very, very nice. The person on the other side of the counter [etc] is the Only Human Being on Earth, at the moment, who can help solve your problem. Or not."
Barcelona airport. 4:30 a.m. Biiiiiig computer glitch, courtesy United—and the elves are sleepin' in Chicago. Biiiiiig Glitch, "unexcusable" ... and I am weary weary weary. (And I have a veeeery short fuse in general, and particularly when weary at 4:30 A.M. 3,500 miles from home.)
So I did 1 minute of "practiced breathing" ... "did a Maxi-Ann." I had, I reminded myself, but one desire: in a busy airport, I wanted a very "unfair share" of the Lufthansa agent's time. With total concentration that would have made a neurosurgeon proud, I launched a Maxi Charm Offense—accepting my fate and musing on the tech-driven perils of our current age, "especially since your employer is giving you the short end of the stick courtesy understaffing and the like." [The syrup nearly flooded the airport.]
This is not, not, not a "Tom Story." This is, is, is an "Ann Story." Both you and I are, in the end, capable of a WMP* charm offense (*Weapons of Mass Politeness).
The "bottom line" ... I got that blessed Unfair Share of the agent's time, and then some; with tenacity, she did indeed untangle the Gordian Knot; we sympathized with one another on "the sorry state of human affairs"—and, unbidden, I will send a note commending her effort.
I am obviously asking your indulgence for "another Ann story"/ "another airline story." My justification, of course, is that it's in fact a fundamental saga of human nature—and, crudely, the difference between success and failure ... in an airport at 4:30 A.M., or when attempting to ice an order for another Boeing Dreamliner.
NB: Perhaps you'll recall the Henry Clay quote I offered up a few weeks ago: "Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.
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