Monday, June 4, 2012

An Opportunity Lost

I tend to think of myself as an "advanced civilian" when it comes to airline travel.  I'm not quite the jet-setter that my hubby and some of my friends are, but I'm above your average civilian.  I'm also not a parent, but I consider myself someone who recognizes an opportunity to use certain situations as teaching opportunities for life lessons.

I experienced one such opportunity this weekend.

I'm briskly walking down the B terminal in good ole' Hartsfield Jackson Airport on Sunday when I notice a man, upper 30's, and his two boys slooooowly walking beside me (...I'm also a very fast walker).  I'd say the boys were between 7 and 9 years old.

Because I'm a total eavesdropper (c'mon - we all are!) I happened to catch their conversation, and it's going a little something like this:
  • Boys:  Are you sure we're not going to miss our flight?
  • Dad:  No we're totally fine.  There's our gate right up there.
  • Boys:  Oh!  I see it!  Gate B11!
  • Dad:  No need to rush - we're fine.  It says our flight leaves at 5:25 and it's 5:21.  We have 4 minutes to make it. 
...uh...yeah.  That actually happened.  So I, being the nosey person I am, turn to the threesome, which is demonstrating absolutely ZERO hustle in their stride and say:
  • Me:  You know - you might want to make a game out of it and race to your gate to see who gets there first.
  • Dad:  Really?
  • Me:  Yeah - you might want to run.
  • Boys:  I'm faster!  (and off the kids go running)
I realize that's not very classy and I totally did not mind my own business, but I couldn't handle it.  They take off running towards their gate and I assume I've seen the last of them.

Not so much.

My gate ended up being B13 - which is right next to theirs.  I wander up to my gate 45 minutes early, like I'm supposed to, and see that the man and his boys are talking to our gate agents:
  • Dad:  Why are the gate doors closed?  We're supposed to be on blah blah flight to blah blah location - it's supposed to leave at 5:25.
  • Gate Agent:  Well sir, that plane is on the runway.
  • Dad:  (getting angry)  Why did it leave early?  It's not supposed to leave until 5:25.
  • Gate Agent:  It's not leaving early.  5:25 is the departure time and that flight is right on schedule.  We close the gate doors 10 minutes prior to departure - it says so right there on your ticket.
  • Dad:  (now furious)  Well - I guess it's my fault that I was stuck in Atlanta traffic then!?  How am I supposed to get my boys to blah blah location in time for blah blah!?!
And he walks away.  Then, unfortunately, I catch the end of his conversation with the boys:
  • Boys:  How did we miss the plane?  What happened?
  • Dad:  Well...I guess the airline uses a different time than what's posted on the ticket.  It's their fault, not ours...
Wow.  What a great teaching opportunity, completely lost because this guy is a total jerk face.  I was so sad to think of how he's going to blame the airline the rest of the day, instead of taking the chance to teach his kids about why it's important to be punctual and leave plenty of time to get where you're going.  Not to mention taking responsibility for your own actions, instead of blaming someone else.

What's worse is that this interaction totally put me in a sour mood for about 30 minutes afterwards - a total waste of energy, especially after such a fabulous weekend.

More on that later =)

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