A life lesson learned from a flight attendant.

love_your_job broadwayI boarded a flight yesterday on an airline that shall-not-be-named (although I’ll give you this hint – they don’t have WiFi), and the flight attendant charged with greeting oncoming passengers and helping them to their seat stood in the galley . . . not talking to anyone and staring at the floor. She just looked kind of . . . well . . . over it.

The passenger in front of me was a Nun, in full white vestments.  She approached Ms. Over-It to ask about the location of her seat.  She was a bit confused (something tells me she wasn’t a frequent flyer), and hardly spoke English.  You’d think Ms. Over-It would have bent-over-forwards to help.  She did answer a question or two, but when the Sister walked away . . . wait for it . . . Ms. Over-It made a snarky comment behind her back (!).

And if that wasn’t enough, Ms. O.I. made eye contact with me with a, “Can you believe some people?” kind of look. I shook my head, sat down in my seat, fired up my phone and prepared to tweet right at the airline in question. I literally had my finger on the tweeter . . . when I stopped.  It’s super easy to take to social networking or review sites to go public with poor customer service, and at times, it’s important.  But I realized this would just be trying to get someone in trouble, and that wasn’t my point.  There was a positive lesson here somewhere . . . and here’s what I took away:

It was clear that this woman wasn’t enjoying her job.  There’s no excuse for poor customer service in any profession . . . but for a flight attendant?  I mean, isn’t that why you sign up?  Because you’re good with nuns people?

There was another flight attendant on the plane. He cracked jokes during the exit row speech. And when he brought my Coke to me a little later than he would have liked, he also brought me three extra bags of chocolate chip cookies.  He enjoyed his job.  And he’s one of the reasons I didn’t hit the ‘tweet’ button.

So what does this have to do on my blog about Broadway and theater?

I consider myself blessed. I’m fortunate enough to wake up every morning and do something I’m crazy about. Sure, I have my moments when I want to go to law school or run a hot dog cart, but those pass . . . and I certainly don’t let my audience see them.  And if I wasn’t enjoying what I do, I just wouldn’t do it.  And that’s what Ms. Over-It taught me, and I hope she realizes herself.  Hey, maybe that Nun was sent from you-know-who with this message:

Love what you do. Or do something else.


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.