Learning What Not to Do
In my previous life I traveled extensively for work. I flew about 100,000 to 150,000 miles a year. United Airlines knew me very well. Sometime before 9/11 I was in Denver, Colorado for a layover when my next flight was cancelled. Soon, I found myself in a line of people all needing new flight arrangements and all queued to a single gate agent. I always feel sorry for the gate agents. It is a hard, thankless job.
A Lesson in Kindness
As the person in front of me made his way to the counter, he demanded certain flights and arrangements that were the same arrangements I had hoped to receive. He was not a nice person at all. He berated the agent and flashed his black United Airlines card. The agent did a great job of remaining calm and being professional. Once the "gentleman" accepted his fate, it was my turn with the agent. As I approached, she asked how she could help me. I explained that I had wanted the same arrangements as the man in front of me, but that I realized she could not do that. I asked her what my alternatives were. She smiled at me and proceeded to give me the exact arrangements I wanted. The same arrangements that the rude man in front of me was denied.
A Simple Resource for Small Business Owners
When you are a startup company, you are at a disadvantage. You are the smallest, the weakest and usually, the poorest. Kindness and humility can be your best friend and your most potent resource for gaining what you need. I am as guilty as the flight attendant of providing preferential treatment to those who are polite.