Attitude Goes A Long Way…Literally

I woke up at 6:40 a.m. to the sound of my wife saying, “Aren’t you supposed to be at the airport?” I flew out of bed, but as I rubbed my blurry eyes, I instantly knew that it was too late.  For the first time that I can recall, I missed a flight and it was my own fault. I forgot to set my own alarm.

I proceeded to go downstairs and call U.S. Airlines to find out my options. The customer service representative told me that I would have to pay a $150 change fee + the cost of the new ticket. If you don’t know, buying a plane ticket on the day of travel is astronomically expensive.  My $285 flight to Sacramento, California was about to cost me about a thousand dollars. This was not the news I was hoping to hear.  I asked the rep if there were other options and he told me to get to the airport within two hours of the originally schedule flight and they might be able to do something for me.

I arrived at Detroit Metro Airport at 9 a.m. or 1.5 hours after my originally scheduled flight. There were many ways to play the upcoming conversation.  In the end, I knew this was my fault and that I was at the mercy of the next U.S. Air employee. When Brenda said, “next,” I knew that I just needed to be polite and contrite.  “I have never done this before, but I overslept and missed my flight this morning,” I began. “Although this is entirely my fault, I sure hope that you can accommodate me and not make this too painful.”  I could tell that Brenda was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t give her any attitude or make any demands (she must get that all day – day after day).  She proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes with me – looking at every possible option – and the options weren’t good.  Everything was booked for the next 30 hours.

I could take a flight with 4 connections, which would take close to 15 hours or I could chance it by becoming a “stand-by” passenger on a flight that was overbooked. This was complicated by checked luggage and a number of contingencies. We talked about it and I decided on instinct that I should take the “stand-by” option. Brenda was so helpful and accommodating that I asked her if I could by her lunch. She told me that I didn’t have to, but I insisted and placed a $20 bill by her computer. After all, as I see it, she saved me about $700 in fees (what I call “Stupid Tax” when it is my fault).

She took my cell phone number and kept me updated. There were 114 slots and 30 minutes prior to take off, she called to say that 113 passengers had checked in. By rule, no one can get through security less than 30 minutes prior to take off, meaning that I was going to make that flight. I can’t tell you how relieved and excited I was. I needed to be in California for business and Brenda saved the day. I arrived in California a mere 3 hours later than my originally scheduled flight.

I do wonder what would have happened if I had been rude or demanding to Brenda. Would she have been so accommodating? Would she have waved those “change” fees? I don’t know, but I like to think that my honest approach and positive attitude altered the situation. While I was at the airline’s mercy, I still could control how I approached the situation and ultimately, the outcome. You might want to try this approach and see what happens.

In the end, 1) I sent a nice letter to U.S. Air regarding Brenda’s outstanding customer service, 2) Brenda got a nice tip and a good lunch because she was kind and helpful to a stranger and 3) I got where I was going without too much hassle. Here’s one more thank you to Brenda for making my day!

Comments 81

    1. This guy spelled “buy” wrong in paragraph 4, he spelled it “by”. The sentence says, “Brenda was so helpful and accommodating that I asked her if I could buy her lunch.”

    2. It was great that the man wasn’t rude in any kind of way. Even though he was running late, and had to pay more money for his ticket. He kept a good attitude toward people. That goes a long way.

  1. I agree with the writer of this story. You should always approach a situation with a positive attitude because in the end it might benefit you.

  2. Think attitude does go a long way, especially these days. People today can be very rude and grumpy, so when customer service people have run in with people who are positive and have a good attitude, they tend to act nicer and be more generous. It doesn’t always happen that way, but if you keep a good attitude, most likely things will work out better than if you have a negative attitude.

  3. I think that him being nice to Brenda a s having a good attitude made her do what she did to help him. It’s all about how you treat people. Treat people how you want to be treated and that what he did so he got something good in return.

  4. This blog shows that if you stay positive other people around you will stay positive and you may even make someone’s day a little bit brighter.

  5. I definitely think that if you had been rude, the whole situation would have been worse. It’s easier for employees to work with people that show respect and have a positive/nice attitude towards them. They don’t want to waste their time working with someone who isn’t cooperating, especially at an airport. This goes to show how attitude can change the situation. A negative attitude would have literally cost him a lot of money, but his positive attitude helped him in a big. He saved a lot of money and was able to get to California.

  6. I don’t think Brenda wouldn’t have been as nice if he was demanding and rude. I know I wouldn’t. This story is a good example of treating others the way you want to be treated and not trying to blame other people

    1. Post

      Michael, you don’t have to worry about being speechless… it is a writing assignment. Find your thoughts and write them down.

  7. Your attitude is everything, if he would have been a jerk she wouldn’t have wanted to help him at all. After all he would have just been like all the others who have a bad attitude. But he was different and I’m sure she appreciated that he was so kind and wasn’t a pest. Your attitude can change not only yourself but those around you.

  8. I agree that giving a positive attitude towards someone will likely make them want to work with you to get thing situated like at the airport. She was willing to work with you because you were kind about it and not yelling or being rude.

  9. I think that is a very good reminder to be kind and courteous in any situation, and to always remember that you have no idea what is going on in a person’s life. This takes me to empathy. Empathy helps us better understand our peers, and sometimes even strangers like in this case. This is a very good story of how things can go if you just have the right attitude.

  10. I really enjoyed this blog because is showed me that even if your mad and you I the problem is your fault you should not blame that on another person. Even if you missed your flight. This blog post remained me that you should always take the blame for something you did and try being positive through the whole exchange.

  11. I think that attitude can go a long way. If I were to go to the airport late with a bad attitude, I’m sure Brenda wouldn’t have been as helpful. And I probably wouldn’t be able to catch a plane.

  12. I agree that attitude can go a long way. This was talking about a certain situation, but if you really think about it the right attitude can get you a job, friends, and many other helpful things in life.

  13. I think that he took things really well with his wife in the morning considering that he just missed his flight. He was in a really good mood in the end and pretty much everything turned out okay. Even though he had to spend extra money because he missed his flight, he still bought Brenda lunch at the airport.

  14. I think of this situation as a win win because since he was nice to her, he got to go on his plane earlier and cheaper and since she was helpful to him, she got a nice tip. It’s kind of like the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. People don’t respond well with a negative attitude and I’m sure he wouldn’t be helpful or nice either if someone talked to him in a rude way. It’s plain and simple, be kind.

  15. Would she have been so accommodating? No, I think that if he approached Brenda with a rude attitude and started being rude out it then I don’t think that she would have helped him out very much. Would she have waved those “change ” fees? No, I do not think that she would have waved those fees if he had been demanding or rude.

  16. I would’ve been so anxious about missing my flight that I would of never been that respectful. That makes me think that if I was of other reasons that maybe it didn’t work out because I was disrespectful.

    1. Post

      Tyler, great revelation. Keeping calm, thinking through situations and being nice can change a lot of situations. If you yell or give someone an attitude, they are probably less likely to help. Still, sometimes I forget this and do things I regret.

  17. The author did a great job staying calm throughout this situation, it isn’t often that people give others a chance like this especially when it’s a hard day at work…. Kindness brings us all together in the end

  18. I believe that attitude is important because if he would have been rude or arrogant, then Brenda would probably not have helped him out so much. I know that if I had to work with people all day long and someone was being rude or giving me a hard time, I would not go out of my way to make their life easier when they are making mine harder.

  19. It is good to be positive even if you have a bad day and a good attitude expectantly if it is your flat and having a good attitude can make up for it and can get you better things

  20. I learned that a positive attitude can go a long way. I feel that if everyone had a positive attitude and look towards life the world could be better.

  21. I think this is a good example of how positive attitude changes how you are treated in a situation. Because of how kind he was to Brenda, he was able to get another flight and was only three hours late.

  22. This is a good example of a god way to react to a bad situation you don’t have to be a nasty person and that people will treat you the way you treat them

  23. Also, if the guy didn’t have a positive attitude, Brenda probably wouldn’t have helped him. Brenda would have probably ignored him and moved on to another customer, and Brenda was nice for doing that. The guy was also nice for sending a nice letter about Brenda and her service to the airport company.

  24. The attitude in the story was that of you should always have a positive attitude because when you have a positive attitude more people are likely to help you or get where you need to be.

  25. I think he did a good thing. Even though he was stressed and worried on the inside he remained calm and nice to the worker, and that is what got him on the flight easily.

  26. When having a positive attitude your day will turn out good. The guy missed his flight and got to the airport he was still nice to the employee. He stayed calm the whole time, and his day turned out good. No matter what happens you should keep a positive attitude.

  27. I think he did a really good thing. When having a positive attitude your life will be much better you have joy. Even though this guy was stressed he was still having a good attitude.

  28. I think he did a good thing, his positive attitude showed us that even though things weren’t working out he had a positive attitude

  29. If you have a positive attitude everything you do throughout the day will be easier.Also when you have a good day and you have a positive attitude other people will see that and try it out themselves.But some people wont try to change their attitude.

  30. This story is a fine example of what can come of having a good attitude. The man could have been rude to Brenda, and it would have been understandable because of the stress he was under in missing his flight. However he kept he’s cool and was polite and because of his good attitude toward the situation everything worked out for the best.

  31. The guys positive attitude didn’t make the other person mad or angry. That way everything else could go over smoothly and he could still get to his destination. That is why people should have positive attitudes.

  32. Proper attitude is important at all times. The way you choose to present yourself to someone could be the difference in $50 and $500.

  33. I think Brenda might have made the situation a lot harder if the guy was rude to her because then that outs her in a bad mood witch makes the process slower.

  34. This was such a simple situation described in such an interesting way. I didn’t get lost once and really liked the message of the story.

  35. I believe that this person did the right thing by approaching the problem with a positive mind state and realizing what he did wrong.

  36. This is a very important life skill. Learning how to have a positive attitude and include it in your everyday life. Admitting to his mistake and trying to take the positive way out saved him money and got him to his destination.

  37. I believe that attitude is important because if he would have been rude or arrogant, then Brenda would probably not have helped him out so much. I know that if I had to work with people all day long and someone was being rude or giving me a hard time, I would not go out of my way to make their life easier when they are making mine harder.

  38. I believe that attitude is important because if he would have been rude or arrogant, then Brenda would probably not have helped him out so much. I know that if I had to work with people all day long and someone was being rude or giving me a hard time, I would not go out of my way to make their life easier when they are making mine harder.

  39. I agree with the author of the the story always have respect and positive vibes even on bad days and something good may happen to you, even if it’s your own fault.

  40. This story is great to show how to have a good attitude when something goes bad and not to blame it on other people when it is your own fault. The man handled his situation very well by not getting mad and yelling at everyone and excepting that it was his own fault for not setting his alarm.

  41. Your attitude and the way you talk to people take you a long way in life. If he would have been rude to the woman, then he probably wouldn’t have got on a flight at all or would have arrived late to California.

  42. If you are in a rush about and you want to go and talk to someone you have to speak clearly and show respect so that person can understand you and that way you will get out of the situation.

  43. If you in a rush about something and you wan to go up to a person and talk to them you have to speak clearly and show respect so you can get out of the situation

  44. Attitude goes a long way and it will take you far in life. Having a great attitude is showing respect to all of the peoples around you. Having a great attitude is having a positive connection and positive manner.

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