Generally, in the past, I’ve been pretty lucky travel-wise. I tend to give myself enough time to get to where I need to go, and usually, most of the flights I take get to the destination as anticipated (or a little bit after).
I arrived at LAX this morning after a great ASCD conference to see that our flight had been significantly delayed.
In the order of five hours.
The people at the gate were furious. As was I, of course.
People immediately started giving the gate agents a tough time. Which, is ridiculous, since it wasn’t a JetBlue issue, but rather was due to weather and construction at JFK. And yet, some people struggled with handling their frustration, taking it out on staff members who had nothing to do with what was going on.
This made me think about turning challenges into inspirations, something that LaVonna Roth talked about in her presentation at ASCD. The idea is, whenever we’re hit with a challenging situation, we always have a choice: we can get frustrated and take our frustrations out on others, or we can look to use the challenge as an opportunity to do something good.
So, after giving JetBlue a call to see what other options existed, if any, I decided to buy the gate agents a snack, to thank them for their service, and to let them know that I understand that this work is difficult, and sometimes, it isn’t easy to handle the anger of others.
This was another example for me of why choice is so powerful. Rather than let frustration turn to anger and attacks, why not use it as a way to prove to myself that I can always make the choice to do good.