Posted by Douglas Sorocco at June 7, 2006 11:16 AM
I guess the title of this post is fairly explanatory – but it is worth repeating.
What has happened to manners in our society? Rudeness seems to prevail everywhere –which makes me wonder if it is any easier to be rude than it is to be mannered?
Case in point (get ready for a rant):
I have been travelling non-stop the past couple of weeks and as we all know, the airlines are really not doing much to help their customers be comfortable, let alone, enjoy the flight. Planes are crowded, the facilities are cramped, they are charging for soft drinks, checking our bags at the curb and for tinny little earphones — and we are now being treated to the “reserved” first class lavatory – is it absurd to anyone but me that people from row 5 have to traipse 30 rows backward to use the “steerage” restroom.
Air travel sucks. Plain and simple.
So, I guess I have been feeling a bit of esprit de corps with my fellow travelers lately – it is us versus them afterall. The people versus the man. Humanity versus inhumanity.
And I don’t think I am alone… in fact, I witnessed both sides of the coin tonight.
A mother and her two young children board the plane – the mother is in the aisle bulkhead seat while her kids are in the middle and the window seat one aisle behind her. She politely asks the passenger in the aisle seat next to her kids if he would be willing to take the bulkhead aisle seat so that she could sit next to her young children (why in god’s name does the airplane put her in this position to begin with?) – a very simple request and, afterall, the passenger would get the bulkhead seat and more legroom.
So - what do you supposed happened?
If you guessed that the passenger changed seats, you would be sadly mistaken. Instead the passenger refused, pouted and when confronted by the flight attendant, outright whined about having to move – remember, it is only one row forward and in the bulkhead seat to boot.
I think the flight attendant, myself and the mother all must have stood there for at least five minutes with our mouths open. We couldn’t believe it. Since I am mouthy, I asked the passenger if he had a problem – didn’t his mother teach him any manners? Well, that went over well. And then another passenger asked the same thing. And then another. And another. And another. Pretty soon the whole front section of the plane was glowering at the passenger for refusing to move.
Well lo and behold – he succumbed to pressure and moved forward – all the while grumbling about it. In fact, he demanded that his bag stay under the seat in front of the woman who was taking his place. His precious bag couldn’t end up in the overhead compartment. Another one of the passengers picked up the bag and moved it to the overhead compartment for him. I think I heard people applauding, but I am not certain.
Later during the flight the attendant brought free drinks back to me and a couple of the other folks who spoke up. The passenger actually asked why he wasn’t getting something for moving.
And up piped the voice of one of the children in the row behind him:
Because you didn’t do the right thing when it was the right thing to do, mister.
I think the mother was mortified that her son made the comment – if I was her, however, I would be proud of that boy.
I now know of at least one mother who is teaching her children manners. Let’s hope I am still travelling when he is a bit older – I would like to sit and chat with him and see if he remembers this experience and how it impacted his life (or not).
This story is really not about intellectual property - although I could probably twist it in some manner. If the lesson is applicable to your practice, great. If not – I am sorry I wasted your time.
I just needed to rant.