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Kindness Shining Through

March 11, 2011

Kindness Shining Through:

Last night my daughter’s flight home for spring break was delayed. Then, within the next hour, it was cancelled due to weather. We scrambled to set up another flight for her, and she offered to spend the night in the airport to grab a flight that left at 6:00 am. Thinking that was beyond the call of duty, we talked about finding her a hotel room near the airport where she could spend the night and get on a flight a bit later.

I spoke with a lovely man named Tony, who, within five minutes, had a reservation set for my daughter at an airport hotel, with shuttle service and complimentary breakfast. All for a reasonable price. I exhaled when I learned she had arrived safely in her room.

When my phone rang at 7:30 this morning, I was sure my daughter was calling to let me know she was boarding her flight. When I heard, “Mom, I have a problem,” my stomach turned. “The hotel didn’t give me my wake up call. I asked for one every fifteen minutes starting at 6:30. None of them came. I just woke up.”

Her flight was in 30 minutes. No way she was going to make it.

“I’m going to call the airlines,” she said. “I’ll call you back.”

Fifteen minutes, twenty… no call back. Nervously, I tried her. “I’m on hold. Gotta go,” was her reply. Another ten minutes passed before her call came. I heard the smile on her face and the relief in her voice. “The guy was really nice. I was crying the whole time. He got me on a later flight, and I told him about the cancellation last night and the wake up calls and he didn’t even charge me extra.”

Okay, so I won’t be able to pick her up because I have to be at work when she gets in, but at least she’ll be on her way.

I phoned the hotel, asking to speak to the manager, letting her know that none of the wake up calls came. While she is looking into providing us compensation for this, she went out of her way to let me know that she would offer my daughter full generosity and use of the room and hotel well beyond the normal check out time. She is extending every courtesy that she can think of.

What impresses me about all the people we encountered in this unexpected situation is their kindness. Flights get cancelled all the time; for weather, for lack of passengers, for concerns with flightworthiness. This happens. Emergency contingency plans also occur. And people make mistakes. We all know and have experienced that not everyone extends kindness, not even in an emergency, not even when circumstances beyond one’s control have prohibited someone from fulfilling his or her obligation. The expediency and warmth that Tony exhibited to me last night, the generosity that my daughter received from the airline’s reservation attendant this morning, the special extensions being offered by the hotel manager while she researches additional compensation, all of these have brought more ease and warmth into a difficult and frightening situation.

We can do our jobs effectively without being kind. We can do our jobs and live our lives without being generous. But the world is a harsher place when people are terse, cold, strict or stingy. All it takes is a softening of the heart to help turn someone else’s rough day into a laughable adventure or a smoother ride. If we can imagine ourselves in their place, and think of the kindness we would like extended to us, it becomes natural to begin to extend that same kindness to them. This is not only a good business tactic, but one for our personal lives as well.

I am grateful for the generosity of these three individuals.

Robin Damsky

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. tskraghu permalink
    March 15, 2011 9:24 am

    feels good to learn about such extraordinary behaviour by ordinary people.


  1. Kindness « Management Briefs

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