Connecting flights and the man on the white horse

I don’t fly much, but when I do, I enjoy it. If you were to ask my wife, maybe I’m a little overboard with my excitement 🙂

Over the last several hours, I’ve dealt with 11 employees of my airline, trying to get to my destination. I know it’s no one in particular’s fault, but I’ve missed three flights and am still going to end up 300 miles from my intended destination. I feel like I’ve been lied to, falsley reassured, and certainly treated like flight number CJ578T. And yet, I’m 24,000 feet in the air and writing a post about a positive experience, and it’s all because of one guy. He’s the guy on the white horse.

Without boring you with the details of my travel (I know I’m not the only one who’s had a crazy flight experience so I’ll just let you imagine), I was in the customer service line to see what they could do to reimburse me for being 14 hours late and 300 miles away from my original destination. So I stood there for five minutes, until the young man I had previously talked to (probably not much older than myself) from the ticket counter came riding up on his white horse and hurriedly let me know he could get me on his next flight to the second-best destination which was three minutes from departure. This beats being 14 hours late. Score.

If you’ve flown much, you know what it’s like to have your plans flipped upside down by a canceled connection, or be rubbed the wrong way by a frazzled gate agent. It happens often, and it happens to everyone. It’s the nature of the industry. But what this young guy reminded me of is the basic economics of the situation: his “outstanding service” was valuable because it was scarce. If he worked at Zappos, he would’ve probably been a pretty average employee (average to them, at least). But because the expectation of service had been set, it was much easier to stand out.  When he cared enough to say something to a guy (albeit a customer) he’d never seen and will never see again who was tired and frustrated and feeling sorry for himself, he became remarkable.

This is the essence of this connection economy. This way of life where humans connect with humans, where “I’m sorry” is spoken with meaning, and relationships are built around our service to our fellow man. This is where our work becomes work worth doing.

My only regret is that I didn’t get his email address. Although I did generously pump his hand and let him know his act of valor would be the topic of my next blog post, I wish I would’ve taken it another step further and tried to link the connection he had instigated by serving me. It would’ve been the least I could do.

Enjoyed this tale of traveling woe? Share your horror story or better yet, your outstanding experience below!


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