Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
- Around the world in 80 (or so) days - May 15, 2022
- Cannes on steroids and gobsmacked in an airport wonderland - May 11, 2022
- A sneak preview of a new wonder of the world - May 10, 2022
Keith looked like a nice man. He’d greeted me flamboyantly, with a nice “Welcome onboard” and a seemingly warm smile as I boarded the American Airlines flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles and shown me to my seat.
Explaining that I had an acutely painful shoulder muscle injury, I asked Keith, who seemed to be the senior purser, if he would mind helping me lift my computer briefcase into the overhead compartment.
Keith’s deportment changed and his smile dissolved. “Well guess what?” he stormed, “I’ve got a bad shoulder too and American Airlines sure aren’t going to pay my medical bills.”
“OK,” I replied. “I only asked.”
So with one arm I began to lift my Toshiba-laden case into the overhead. As I struggled to do so, Keith returned, and made a token attempt to help. “Here…” he began.
I stopped him in his tracks. “Leave it, thank you, I’m fine.”
I took my seat and a few moments later accepted the glass of sparkling wine in a plastic cup that Keith proffered while we waited for take-off. It had been a long week with little sleep due to jet lag and I Ieaned back in my seat and reflected on a fantastic few days at the DFS Hawaii 50th.
After a short while, Keith returned. “Here,” he said almost conspiratorially, “I had some left over.”
Without waiting for my agreement, he began pouring half a cup full of tepid sparkling wine from another plastic cup (I kid you not) into mine. It looked like (and may have been) someone’s leftovers. “There you go,” he said with a satisfied smile and walked off (you’re right, I didn’t drink the wine).
Keith was a big-built man. Loud. Gregarious. He appeared to rule the cabin. For the remainder of the trip to LAX he was polite, though overbearing. I think he realised his little scene earlier was inappropriate.
But it was too little, too late. Keith had not only been rude and unhelpful to a customer but had disparaged his employer publically. Just before take-off and landing, the airline played the standard safety and arriving videos. Both thanked passengers for choosing American Airlines ahead of other carriers. Well guess what Keith? If I know you’re onboard next time, I will be flying another airline.
I contrasted his attitude to the DFS staff I had spent so much time with during the week. To a man and a woman they could neither have been more helpful nor friendlier. On the Monday evening the retailer had invited all employees, past and present, to a 50th anniversary function. For the first time in the history of the State, all DFS shops (airport and downtown) were closed, as a result. It’s fair to say that all those individuals felt very warmly about their employer (with whom, remember, many had experienced hard times as well as good, during various crises).
It’s probably fair to say, too, that Keith is unlikely to land a job there anytime soon.