Yesterday was one of those fun flying days where I got to the airport two hours early only to find out my flight was cancelled and I wouldn’t be on a plane for at least another five hours.
Let me backtrack first to say that, of course, my trip was wonderful. Three days of friends, wine, theme parks (Harry Potter and Sea World), relaxing by the pool, football (well, they watched, I mostly read), Golden Globe red carpet analysis (and tears when Chris Colfer won, obviously) and non-stop chatter. I’m really pushing for this to be the first annual.
The only buzzkill of the trip came when I arrived at the Orlando airport to find that my 11:30 am flight had been cancelled and I had been booked on a flight at 2:20… the next day.
These are the moments when I see how this search has changed me. My former self would have been so annoyed that I wouldn’t have been able to be friendly. I’d like to think I would not have been mean to the ticket agent, but I’m pretty sure there would have been lots of silent fuming and “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” tongue biting. People aren’t stupid. When you’re pissed at them, they can see it, even if you’re forcing yourself to remain civil.
During this search I’ve done my fair share of chatting up potential new friends. I’ve learned how to talk to anybody, in just about any situation. And so when Alan the ticketing agent told me my options, I didn’t get angry or go silent. I just laughed at my good luck and talked with him about my weekend and the weather in Chicago.
Alan told me that I could either head back to my hotel and come back tomorrow, or stick around for a flight late that evening that had a good chance of being cancelled.
“Then you’ll have to come back to the counter, talk to us again, and maybe end up back where you started.”
“Will you be here?” I said. “You’re nice. I don’t mind talking to you again.” Bear in mind Alan was about 60. This wasn’t flirting. He just seemed like a nice guy. He seemed interested enough when I told him I’d been in Potterville and when we looked at the Chicago snowflakes on my weather app.
“I’ll tell you what…” he said, and proceeded to take my phone number and promise that if he saw any seats open up on the next flight to Chicago—one he seemed to think would get out—he’d book me and call me immediately. “It’s a hail Mary but we’ll try.”
And so I got some oatmeal and got out my book and 35 minutes later I had a call. Alan came through for me. I don’t think I won him over with my dazzling charm or anything. I think I lucked out with a nice agent (I’ve encountered plenty of horrid ones) who was willing to help out an friendly customer. (I can’t imagine the kind of angry mobs they probably deal with.)
It’s a totally cheesy and obvious lesson, but one that I’ve been reminded of so many times this year.
If you are nice to people, they are more likely to be nice to you.
Like I said, nothing earth shattering. But easy enough to forget when you’re stranded and helpless in an airport at 9:30 on a Monday morning.
Going on a friend search has switched my default button from keep-to-myself to chat-with-others. It’s a nice change. Without it, there’s a decent chance I’d be sitting in an airport right now.