A Lesson Learned the Hard Way.

This story is probably 40 years old, but it’s timeless in terms of its message.

The incident occurred at the Honolulu airport and was witnessed by Rick, a stock- broker friend of mine. He  happened to be next-in-line at the PanAmerican counter, where he overheard a passenger giving the ticketing agent a very bad time. 

Evidently there had been some mix-up with the passenger’s seat assignment and he was taking it out on someone who had had nothing to do with the problem.

The more frustrated the man became, the more offensive his behavior toward the young local man on the other side of the counter. Rick heard the phrase “dumb Hawaiian” several times.

When it finally became clear to the irate passenger that he was not going the get the seat he wanted, he stomped off in the direction of the gate.

Finally, it was my friend Rick’s turn at the counter and, as he was checking in for his flight, he made a point of complimenting the PanAm agent for treating the irate passenger so courteously.

“How did you manage to keep your cool,” Rick asked, “when the man was being so rude and insulting?”

The young man smiled and said “I just kept telling myself to stay calm and be polite,” he said. “But it helped to know that while the man is en route to New York City, his suitcase will be on its way to Hong Kong.”