Saturday, July 4, 2015

My Baggage Thanks You

I'm always amazed when individuals "in charge" -- those wearing clothing emblazoned with company logos ... In uniform, running the shows, ostensibly, and holding down forts in exchange for their paychecks -- engage that representative power to help ...

You'd think this is something that should go without saying ... and in Europe, across much of the airline, food service, banking, car rental, hotel and other hospitality sectors, it does.

There is pride in a uniform "over there", still ... A sense of contributing to the common goals of a shared community as much as an overriding ... if not desire, than at least, obligation, to represent their company logos appropriately, and make an effort -- in a pleasant way -- to provide assistance, if and as needed, to other human beings.

In the States, this is often sorely lacking.  There is laziness.  Indolence.  Pushback.  Sore attitude.

All of the above being preferable, arguably, to stark indifference:  the apathetic numbness shown by employees too bored to give a shit.

Thus, happily, did I arrive to depart recently at one of New York's better known "third world" airports ...

For some reason, my flight was being "operated by" another airline - not the airline whose website I visited, and which collected my payment.

A different airline.

... Ergo, a different airport terminal than the one in front of which a taxi deposited me and my baggage.

To my further dismay, I realized I was already about 45 minutes from my scheduled departure; and walking (or running!) between hugely spaced, unconnected terminals at this particular third world airport would not be an option.

So I flailed around trying to find a ride for a minute ... then fumed as I heard a harried shuttle driver bark into a dispatcher's radio, "Ten minutes!  Be there in five to ten minutes!"

I waited.  I fumed.  A shuttle finally arrived, and I climbed aboard with a pilot or two ... a baggage handler ... and sped off toward the correct terminal ... which again, for some reason, did not belong to the airline I was supposedly flying!

Praying this wasn't some sort of mistake (or a sick prank ... Deceived again!) ... I climbed over the pilots, the baggage handler ... Did a lap dance with an elderly couple ... and leapt from the shuttle van.  Ran into the airport and up to the kiosk ... Swiped this, and entered that ...


My flight, by this point departing in only thirty minutes, was already closed.  As instructed on-screen, I went to 'see attendant' ..

To make a long story medium-length, this lovely lady loved her job.   Respected the uniform she wore, and the corporate logo she represented, and skillfully, helpfully, whisked me to the front of the security line ... Rock star-like bypassing the holiday throngs, with a hastily printed standby ticket for any random later flight (This lovely lady knew things! ;) ... so I was able to get to the gate and catch my flight.  Against the clock, and against all odds.

I'm on that flight now ... and as the sun sets above the clouds, it dawns:

We Americans ... Hectic, obnoxious, harried, demanding, rude, preferring to be left alone; inconveniencing others when we're inconvenienced (often through nobody's fault but our own) ...

Or I, in any case; ME, American ... get the service and treatment too often deserved.

Photo(s) by Jglo - "Freedom, Struggle"
"Freedom, Struggle", ©Jeff Glovsky