Thursday, December 31, 2009

Be thankful and stop complaining

This evening my flight home was a bit delayed.

We were heading in for a landing and flying through a thick blanket of clouds.  Suddenly, the plane pulls up and climbs again.  That is an odd feeling when you have been descending for so long and you are expecting a landing any minute.  Ten minutes later the Captain tells us we are going to a nearby airport instead.  He says that they couldn't see the runway and so could not complete the landing.

People are such whiners.  Many of the passengers were bent out of shape about the situation.

Were any of you just listening?!  When the Captain can't see the runway, I think I'm going to side with him on the Not Landing decision.

One young man, not more than twenty and a new recruit in the military, was traveling with some of his buddies (they were not in uniform.) We'll call him PFC Grouchy Pants.  He was complaining that the Captain must be an idiot.  He couldn't believe we did not land.  He couldn't believe how stupid that guy must be.  He didn't have an aggressive edge to his complaining.  He just seemed like one of those people who likes to complain and wants others to join in.  He started to say how he had not had a cigarette since the morning.  I smiled at him and said, "Is that why you are so bitchy?"  I really did say this.  It didn't phase him.  He enthusiastically agreed.  "Yea!  That is why I am so bitchy!" 

I can understand having some negative feelings about the inconvenience of it all.  We were going to be two hours later than expected and many people had rides waiting for them.  PFC Grouchy Pants had to check back in from leave by midnight or he would be AWOL.  But c'mon people!  There is a really good reason for this to be happening and you should THANKING that pilot for not acting like some reckless, Top Gun maniac.

At the nearby airport, we are told that they will refuel and head back to our airport to give it another try.  There is a stink of discontentment in the air.  People are still grumbling even though we will eventually get to where we are going.  The stressed out flight crew is doing the best they can to manage the crowd.

We finish refueling.  We land safely.  I tell PFC Grouchy Pants to smile because we made it.  He says he'll smile as soon as he has a cigarette in his mouth.  Pissy passengers unload. 

So when I got off the plane, I wrote the crew a note.  My note said:
Dear Captain, First Officer and Crew,
Thank you for making our safety a priority over our convenience.  We all get to go home to our loved ones tonight and that is what really matters.  Don't listen to the complainers.  They don't appreciate what is really important in life.  Thank you and Happy New Year!
As I was writing it, one of the crew came to the counter at the gate to use the computer there.  He saw me writing my note.  When I finished writing, I asked him how I can get the note to the Captain.  He said that he was the co-pilot and could give it to him, but he didn't look very excited about the prospect.  He probably thought I was writing a nasty letter of complaint.  I handed it to him and told him that I just wanted to say thank you for keeping us safe.  He looked at the note and then smiled.

(Later I will write about the completely bizarre shuttle ride that I took from the airport.  But it is late and now I should sleep.)


Wanda said...

Safe Landing equals Happy Ending!

Happy New Year to You and Yours!

Ms. Moon said...

You're safe. And that is all that matters. And I'm so glad.

swallowtail said...

Nighty night, Little Grasshopper. Mother Earth is so glad you are home safe and sound. She is proud of your deportment, and knows that your kindness and sense of humor shed some much-needed light on the situation. Many hugs. The New Year blesses you.

Bethany said...

Oh Kathy, really?
You're so funny, writing that note. I love it.
Perfect way to ring in the new year.
Love you and glad you are safe too.

adrienne said...

i hopped on over from ms moon's; that sweet bouquet of gerbers(?) made it impossible to resist.

the next time i am complaining about something relatively important, i will call myself grouchy pants, have a laugh, and think of you.

the happiest, healthiest, and safest on new years to you!

Anne Leddy said...

You make me proud of you. True Christianity at work here. Positive, uplifting, life-giving.

Love, Mom I already miss you

grasshopper said...

Thanks Mom. Not sure I'd say calling that boy "bitchy" was so charitable of me...but hey, I can do better next time. I miss you too!

Jennifer said...

I don't know if you'll read this now, just catching up. Just wanted to say that I LOVE that you wrote the pilot/crew a thank you note. That probably made their day.