Monday, October 13, 2008

Be nice, until it's time not to be...

When did being nice and polite go out of style? Someone please re-send me the memo...I was clearly left off the distribution list.


One of my favorite movies in the world is "Roadhouse" with Patrick Swayze. The scene that takes the cake for me is the one where Dalton (P. Swayze's character) is in the bar training the bouncers. He tells them to always be nice until it's time not to be nice. Of course, one of the bouncers asked how will they know when it's time to not be nice. Dalton simply states back, "You won't. I'll tell you".

I love that. Sometimes I get a little "Dalton" in me when I see an injustice occurring in my presence.

Case in point:

I was in the Austin airport waiting for my flight home. My travel arrangements were taking me from Austin to Atlanta, then on to Raleigh. Well, as luck would have it (or KC's luck anyway), there was a storm passing through Atlanta and no flights were allowed to go in or out. The airline announcer said they would get an update from the tower in another 15 minutes or so.

Well, I have been stuck in Atlanta quite a few times, so I make my way to the counter to see if they can divert me through another airport. I have a pleasant wait in line for about 5 minutes chatting with 2 lovely individuals about their travel plans.

I am just about to hand my ticket to the agent and flash him my best smile and ask politely (with some southern twang) what he can do to get me to Raleigh that night. Before I'm able to do so, a gentleman (using that term loosely) from about 20 yards away starts yelling at the agent.

"Hey...Buddy, why haven't you made any announcements about this flight? This is ridiculous!!"

Seriously? Here I am about to try to get a favor and this yahoo decides to yell at MY agent?

Oh, I don't think so.

Good news...I remember Dalton. "Be Nice".

The agent is about to respond when I say to him, "Sweetie, I got your back on this".

I then say to the guy in a very calm and nice manner (he's still 20 yards away, so I raise my voice level to almost meet his): "I'm so sorry that you weren't here a mere 5 minutes ago...he just made the announcement about the Atlanta airport and the tower should have another update in about 10 or so minutes."

I then pause (and give him my best Patrick Swayze stare) to allow said gentleman to respond.

Of course he has nothing left to say.

I turn back to the agent and say, "I'm so sorry for his rudeness, please don't think all travelers are like him."

He then thanks me for standing up for him and asks what he can do for me. I ask if there is anyway to get me back to Raleigh that night. He types on the keyboard for what seemed like an eternity and comes up with a new itinerary on another airline.

Now, I have asked on several past trips to be moved to another airline when there were flight delays and such and have ALWAYS been denied (regardless of my sweet smile). You can imagine my surprise when I see the different airline on my itinerary. I ask how much is that going to cost me and he responds: "I got it. No charge. You were so nice to stand up for me it's the least I could do".

Wow. How nice was that? Not only did I get home, but I also got to be a "cooler". Ok, sort of, not like Patrick Swayze, but you gotta start somewhere.

1 comment:

Gina said...

I though you'd be bigger.

(Just what a man wants to hear.) I do admit I will watch Road House whenever it is on. Dalton is philosophy major and obviously we can learn much from this man and his movie.

I wish I had moments like your. You are the cooler! I always think of the snappy lines much, much later.

How's dating life? I couldn't help but wonder if your dating life is anything like Dalton's observations of the times:

"Too many 40-year-old adolescents, felons, power drinkers and trustees of modern chemistry."