Saturday, December 16, 2017

More than a napkin

Below is a humble cocktail napkin from a recent flight.  The inscription -- which I failed to notice at first -- has a richer significance. 

John Maddente photo
After I buckled up, a man next to me begin to banter with our flight attendant who obviously loved her work (I'll call her Laura).  Although he gave me permission to identify him for this post, I recall only his last name -- Weingarten.  Back to the flight...

Laura and Mr. Weingarten appeared to know one another rather well.  When Laura left to serve other passengers, Mr. Weingarten pointed out that both of our napkins contained this friendly, hand-written, greeting and that she had produced one for him on a previous flight.  What I learned next was my inspiration for this post.

Mr. Weingarten explained that on a previous flight, two other flight attendants took notice of Laura's gracious attitude toward her customers and criticized her napkin gesture (not knowing they were within earshot of Mr. Weingarten) because it made them look deficient. 

Shortly after Laura's colleagues finished upbraiding her, Mr. Weingarten motioned Laura to come over for a private word which he concluded with this counsel... "Don't let them crush your spirit."

The story continues.  A busy executive who travels over 150 days per year, Mr. Weingarten found a portal the airline uses to garner customer feedback.  He supplied his flight details and Laura's real name in order to extol her exemplary service and attitude. 

Airline managements take these passenger inputs quite seriously.  Laura was commended as a result.  I know not whether the other two attendants were cited in Mr. Weingarten's message, but this post is dedicated to all the Laura-types in our midst.  Don't let them crush your spirit.