I was flying back to Reno a couple nights ago thinking about what I could blog about next. Luckily there was a nasty Delta flight attendant that helped me solve that problem. He was an older, rotund man who clearly was not having the best day. He made it a point to rudely stare at people trying to turn their cell phones off and huff and puff loudly as he walked down the walkway. All of this was fine because, well because it didn’t really involve me. I had anything with an on/off switch turned off and my carry-ons were safely stowed beneath the seat in front of me, so the angry man didn’t bother me too much. It wasn’t until he handed me my drink and I asked if he could throw away the coffee cup I had (he was pushing a drink cart with an attached garbage can) did he really irk me. After I asked him he didn’t respond. He continued taking the drink orders of the passengers behind me, so I figured he just didn’t hear me. As I’m waiting for him to finish getting everyone’s drinks, I’m staring at him with my empty coffee cup, he rudely (and grumpily) says, “You can wait and throw it away later!” and walks away. Yes, that grumpy man pushing a drink cart with a garbage can attached refused to throw away my empty cup. Yet, the next attendant that passed me with a cart gladly tossed my cup for me.
I understand that everyone has bad days. I understand that not everyone loves their job. I even understand that perhaps his garbage can could have been full, but could he not have said it when I first asked him to throw it away and more specifically said it nicer? In an industry heavily focused on customer service there really is no room for assholes. Especially in an economic climate like the one we’re in where people have many other alternatives to turn to. I’m not saying companies need to bend over backwards, but I feel that going the extra mile and offering more than what’s asked (or even what is explicitly asked, “can you throw away my coffee cup?”) should be the norm. As unpleasant of a day that flight attendant was having he’s still getting paid to be there, the least he could do was make the best of it.
Photo credit: http://bit.ly/m3CCeB