Having written a couple of semi-humorous, semi-grousing posts about my Delta Airlines exploits, I felt it would only be fair of me, after a no-surprises Delta flight cross country, to write a post about the good flight: it was successful, easy and uneventful, and it arrived 30 minutes early. I even began wondering how best to write a post about something so totally devoid of interesting details and turns of events.
Musing about that a few hours after I landed, I got a call on my cellphone from an unknown San Francisco number.
“Hello Mr. Dichter?”
“This is Delta Airlines calling. Did you just fly from JFK to San Francisco?”
“Did you leave anything on the plane?”
“Um….I don’t know….Oh *$&%!!! My iPad.”
“Yes sir. You can come and pick it up at the San Francisco airport by Door 17 at the Lost and Found.”
Which is to say, first, that in no way shape or form do I really deserve to still be in possession of my iPad. And, second, that I’m extremely thankful to the Delta flight attendants who found it and turned it in to Lost and Found, to the Delta representative who then called me to deliver the good news, and then to the folks at Lost and Found (including a guy in an actual red coat) who promptly and without any hassle returned it to me.
It is much easier to remember to complain and explain why everything’s broken. It takes a decision to start to be in the businesses of shining a light on things that are working well and to thank people. Good news stories don’t sell newspapers, but we need more of them. Grousing is entertaining but mostly it just holds us back.
2 thoughts on “Good news too”
I once flew on a United flight from Portland to St. Louis in a semi-blizzard. Everything was late and my connection was quick. I arrived and my luggage actually arrived with me – I was shocked. I actually went down to the luggage claim to tell the person there how grateful I was that my bag made it on that horrible night and she almost cried. I’m pretty sure I was the ONLY person (certainly on that night!) who paused to tell someone thanks. I still remember it. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained; I don’t remember those. Thanks for the reminder.
I think it’s VERY important to remember to praise good behavior. If I feel entitled to complain when things go badly, airline-wise or otherwise, then I think I have an equivalent obligation to thank people when things go well. (If we are all willing to keep our mouths shut no matter what, then not, but I don’t know anyone like that.)
Also remember that the human individual you are dealing with is probably not personally responsible when things don’t go well. Several years ago I flew (KLM) into Amsterdam in a snowstorm. The plane landed fine, but they couldn’t or didn’t get the luggage off. Thus ensued a week of phone calls to numbers that didn’t answer, long waits on hold, complete confusion. So one night I made my twice a day call, and talked to a young woman who was very stiff. No, she didn’t know. No, she couldn’t say. (They put people on who spoke beautiful English.)
Then I said, “I guess you’re getting a lot of these calls.” (Ultimately there were some 6,000 pieces of luggage involved from various flights.)
Me: “I guess people are pretty upset.”
Her: bursts into tears. “You can’t imagine! Everyone is screaming at me! There are people who cannot access their medications because they’re in the luggage! There’s a woman who’s to be married who cannot get her wedding dress!”
Me: “Oh dear, there there now. We’re not in the middle of nowhere you know, we’re in the capital of a first world industrialism! Let the meds people go to a doctor here and get a new prescription! And the wedding dress? This will make a fabulous story. She can tell it at dinner parties for the rest of her life.”
Her: sobs and sniffs.
Well I got the darn luggage back eventually. Sometimes we need to keep a sense of proportion.