I write this blog post to you as I sit here traveling at 39,000 feet on my last flight home for 2012. (For fun I tallied my total to be a whopping 39 flights, both domestic and international from around the world, this year. Craziness!) My mind lead me to thinking about where I was this time last week, then I smirked as I was reminded that I was on the airplane again this time flying home from Las Vegas and not Vancouver.
Business brought me to Nevada for a speaking engagement at the Annual IAFE (International Association of Fairs & Epositions) Convention. It was a success as I presented to our American friends on the importance of promoting leadership in the next generation within our agricultural associations and organizations. As expected Las Vegas brought an atmosphere of its own, especially when you ‘go out on the town’. Eager to do a bit of shopping Stephanie and I had an interesting last day.
I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs how I try to lead by setting an example, well I have 3 stories to share from this particular day: Starbucks, Leftovers, and WestJet.
To experience something close normal and somewhat civilized when in Las Vegas, Stephanie and I decided to sit and enjoy some refreshing day-time beverages at Starbucks. As you could imagine the place was packed with people of all ages and from all backgrounds, most of which were desperately trying to connect to the ‘Free Wifi’ signal. Finding a place to sit was challenging however we managed to find a small table besides a middle aged couple who I assumed traveled from the UK, according to their accents. After some time the couple beside us got up and left while leaving all their garbage on the table including coffee cups, stir sticks, open sugar packs, a couple banana peels and dirty napkins. I was disappointed that they did not clean up after themselves especially since the garbage was only 4 steps away and there was obviously no extra staff to clean the busy sitting area. Since Stephanie wanted to check her emails on her iPad a while longer, I decided to go walk around the mall for a few minutes so as I got up I cleaned the table beside us. My hands were full but for the little effort there was now a clean open spot for the next person to sit at. (Cute side story – Stephanie said she noticed another elderly couple talking about how I cleaned that table off. Maybe they were comforted to know that our future may not go to ‘H E double hockey stick in a hand basket’ after all. I’m not totally sure but I think I made a little bit of a difference.)
It is a common sight to see the homeless asking for money or food when in a big city, let alone a city with thousands of destination travelers everyday. This reminded me of a time when someone told me about packing-up their leftovers and giving it to the homeless. As Stephanie and I finished our supper that night, before making our way back to the airport, we packed-up our leftover pizza and gave it to the homeless. Why waste when it can go to someone in need. (Although, I do believe that these people could lift themselves out of poverty if they have the desire and drive to do so. As the saying goes, ‘The one thing you will always have in life is choice.’)
It is always a great feeling to arrive back home from an international flight and WestJet is bar-none my airline of choice. Unfortunately not everyone on our flight was thinking the same because once arriving in Edmonton (YEG) and cueing our way through customs, we had to wait a while for our luggage. The situation was this: all flights scheduled to land in Calgary were re-directed to Edmonton because of this little thing we like to call ‘Winter Weather’. Sadly, the adults standing around who were becoming increasingly impatient begun to say rude and inconsiderate things. This made me feel so uncomfortable I had to move away from all the childish negativity. I wanted to say something to make them realize that the centre of the universe does not revolve around selfishness and that the late night crews were working as hard as they possibly could to take care of everyone. These things happen! I supposed only a seasoned traveler like myself would truly understands this. So instead, I made my way to the WestJet luggage staff and told them that I appreciated their hard work and hoped that there were others like me who understood the situation and were ok with it.
Why do people insist on living such a demanding lifestyle? Since when do the people who serve us need to meet our unrealistic standards? When did we forget how to be Considerate?
I was so upset and disappointed with these Edmontonians that I had to tweet about it and now writing a blog about it.
My hope is that everyone this holiday season be thankful for the amazing year we’ve been given to live and to learn from. To include the people around you, even strangers in an ‘Act of Kindness’. Whenever you find yourself frustrated or upset take a moment to stop and think. Chances are it’s probably not that big of a deal and your day will turn out just fine. I challenge you to be considerate and kind, always. Life is too short and if you’re not happy then it could be too late to get your chance.