Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Beginning Our Descent into Mediocre

Hey, You.
Yes, I'm talking to you. All four of you who walked past a hundred tired, stressed Southwest Airlines "customers" whose only need was to be treated with respect, dealt with professionally and to be served by employees who stayed until the job was done.

I know it wasn't your fault that two flights were cancelled within minutes of each other. It isn't even your fault that several complicated issues presented - a large group traveling together that included several passengers in wheelchairs, for example. It isn't even your fault that there are limited flights out of Rochester (no kidding, huh?) onto which an extra two hundred plus people needed to be fitted.

What upset me last night, and continues to piss me off, was the attitude. In the midst of the confusion, the long immovable lines, the Southwest Airlines Web snafus and hour-plus telephone holds four of you put on your coats, picked up your lunchboxes and walked past us. Going home. When I asked, your reply was "I've been here since 4."

I feel ya, dude. I've also seen "lazy" public sector workers who have put in 14 hour days. I've seen police officers working in hour fifteen, holding a perimeter position in below zero weather. I've watched firefighters who've gotten maybe eight hours of sleep over 48 hours of duty (in a series of 45 minute cat naps) doing CPR on a person they know will die anyway, the relief shift awaiting their return to the station. Teachers I've known sat at concerts, sporting events and dinners grading papers. Snow plow drivers working all day and all night during storms.

If all of you had pitched in, it would have taken twenty minutes to clear out the gate areas. Instead, you went home. You left a few coworkers behind to deal with the disheartened throng. There were couples on the way to honeymoons, business people away from home, folks (like us) fresh from funerals who just wanted to be on our way back to our new normal. But, you couldn't be bothered.
Next time you are want to make some kind of stupid comment about a public sector worker you'll remember the night you could have made a difference for two hundred people who'd mistakenly thought placing our welfare in your hands was safe.

Instead, you went home.

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