On a United Airlines flight recently, I made a connection from Houston Bush heading back home to San Antonio. I was lucky on this trip because my international flight into Houston arrived nearly 30 minutes early, which gave me plenty of time to collect my luggage and clear U.S. Customs. In fact, I even had a little time to grab a snack from the United Club.
Anticipating that my flight to San Antonio would be called, I made my way to gate B79 so I could board the aircraft early. I received a complimentary upgrade to First Class, although it was no biggie because this was a small jet and a very short 42-minute flight. The most we would be offered was a drink and a small snack.
But, nonetheless, our seats are a little more comfortable in this premium cabin.
The Patient Man
As a I stand near the gate leaning against the handle of my rolling computer bag, I observed a man in his mid-50s having a lively discussion with the United agents. Even though I had no idea what was taking place, I had a sense something unusual was happening.
After a few minutes, my boarding group is called, and I quickly jump in line to board the aircraft. Things are going well for me today, and since I am near the front of the line, there is plenty of overhead space to place both my bulky computer bag and my backpack.
I’m sitting in 1C, which is the bulkhead. Thus, I have no space in front of me to place my bags. I was aware of this situation, so I had already removed my iPad and AirPods Max from my bag.
A few minutes after taking my seat, the patient man sat next to me in 1D. It seemed like something was bothering him, but by this time, I was already watching a sports show on my iPad and largely oblivious to the environment around me.
Interestingly, a few minutes after this gentleman had assumed his seat, the gate attendant came to him and said …
“Mr. Scott, we need you to come to the gate because there is an issue with your ticket.”
He sighed but quickly complied with the request.
He returned to his seat about 5 minutes later. He wasn’t happy about the situation, but he was calm and in control of his emotions.
At some point during the short flight, I decided to use the lavatory. When I returned to my seat and before I had time to secure my AirPods on to continue watching the show, the patient man said me …
“It has been a tough day! I’m a United 1K Member, and I should be treated better.”
I asked him about the situation, and he said his first flight earlier that day was delayed, resulting in missing his connection. Therefore, he was now being re-directed through San Antonio and onto his final destination.
When I observe these situations, I often wonder how I would react. I would obviously be upset if I missed a connection to my final destination. I would even be almost angry that I am being pulled from the aircraft to resolve a ticket issue.
However, this gentleman taught me a valuable lesson. There is crazy stuff that is going to happen to me in the future, and a lot of it is out of my control.
What I can control is how I react to it. I can be upset and even angry, but I can ask God to keep me calm.
I may not be happy with the situation, but at least I will not embarrass myself and make an ugly scene, especially when there is very little that can be done to resolve the matter.
On this day, however, I’m blessed I made it to San Antonio a bit early, and my wife picked me up at the airport. We had a quiet lunch together and plenty of time to chat about how the kids were doing.
Yes … on this day, all worked out fine for me, but I am grateful to have observed such patience when things do not go according to plan.