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It’s all about me—isn’t that the common theme lately? When did we become so self-centered and entitled? I’ll pause here to warn you that I am about to get on my soap box (again)! 😊

My seat mate on a recent flight was “happier” than he should have been. He clearly spent time in a bar before boarding and ordered another drink as soon as he sat down. Worse, when the flight attendant picked up glasses before take-off, he hid his. Who does that?! This was the pre-curser to a 5.5-hour flight. I thought I was home free when he fell asleep soon after take-off. Not so!

My seat mate slept through when the flight attendants came around to ask for pre-dinner drinks and meal selections. When he woke up, he saw the flight attendant passing our row several times, serving meals. He was not happy and complained loudly that the attendant had not taken his order. When it was his turn, she asked what he would like, and he was rude to her for the oversight. She apologized even though it was not an oversight; she had simply decided to let him sleep until he was ready. She explained that she was doing her best to serve the 20 passengers in her section as quickly as possible.  She was very polite and professional. As she walked away, my seat mate commented to me that “it must be horrible doing a job you hate every day.” While I agree in concept that doing a job you hate would be unpleasant, that did not apply here; the attendant was very friendly and seemed to enjoy her career. I could not say the same for my seat mate!

When she brought my seat mate his dinner, he asked for a glass of wine, and it got interesting. The attendant refused, saying, “I don’t think so, you are a little argumentative and I am concerned” and walked away. Good for her! When she left, my seat mate said to me, “Wow! Did that just happen?”. I said, “Yup, sure did”!  He then asked me if he was obnoxious earlier (he used a different word😊).  My response was, “Yea, you kinda were”. To his credit, when she came by, he stopped her and apologized. Good for him! The attendant told him his apology meant a lot.  She must have then decided that he wasn’t as “argumentative” as she first thought and offered him that glass of wine. I rolled my eyes because now I had to deal with him the rest of the flight with that extra glass of wine. (It didn’t help that she gave him a second glass of wine later…) She was satisfied with the apology, he was “happy” with his glasses of wine, and I was left dealing with Mr. Happy again. Luckily for me, he fell asleep for the rest of his flight. I think the universe decided I deserved a peaceful flight!  😊

This is a simple example of how self-absorbed we can become when we don’t get what we want, when we want it.  It also shows how blind we can be to how we are impacting others with our behavior.  In this case, the attendant’s reaction gave my seat mate a wakeup call, but the entire exchange never should have happened. My seat mate should have had enough self-awareness to recognize and manage his own bad behavior and how it impacted the flight attendant who was doing her best to serve everyone on her own. His behavior reflected badly on him and impacted my flight experience (because after all, it’s all about me! 😊).

I learned something from both of them: instead of making demands and assuming you have been left out, take a minute to consider what the other person is doing or going through. Take a breath, and if you need something, ask politely. Whether you were skipped over or not, there is no reason to be harsh and accusatory. The flight attendant’s firm but professional demeanor was the perfect way to deflate rather than escalate the situation.

Rather than focusing on what we want when we want it, I think we should focus on how we behave and interact with others when things don’t go our way.  Imagine what our world would be like if we all had a little grace and understanding for each other. So, instead of it being “all about me,” let’s turn that focus inward and make it all about how we each behave.

 “Be yourself, but always your better self.” – Karl G. Maeser

How will you show some grace to this weekend?

Have a great weekend.

-Vijay

 

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