Making the Best of It

Written by Ken Chisholm

Turning the Bad into Great

Making the Best of ItBack in September of 2006 I was traveling with some colleagues to New Jersey for some plant tours and meetings with some of our key partners.  Everything was going smoothly as our early AM flight from Calgary left on time and the connecting flight to Newark, New Jersey out of O’Hare in Chicago was on schedule.

That’s where the smooth part ended.  We taxied out of the gate and headed to our runway when we heard the engines shut down.  Never a good thing.  The Captain announced that due to heavy international traffic coming in to Newark we were going to be sitting on the tarmac for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  My herniated disc begged for more meds and the collective groan of the occupants of our flying tube was deafening.

What we found out soon after was that President Bush and the rest of the UN General Assembly were meeting in New York the same week we were traveling.  George, as our luck would have it decided to travel the same day we were and of course, being the popular guy he is, the FAA had to shut down airspace in the New York area.

We had a choice to make.  Watch a bad movie on small screens with terrible sound or have some fun and meet some people.  Being the fun seekers we are we decided on the latter and headed to the rear of the plane for a wee get together.  Our first mission was to convince the flight attendants of this United flight to sell some libations during the delay.  This of course is normally not done but due to the length of the delay, special consideration was given.  The next challenge was convincing the head hostess to take Canadian money, again, not done on a normal basis.  Having received these two “Pickles” (customer service above and beyond expectation) the three of us raised a glass to the fine folks at United and began making the most of our delay.

Within minutes, several other passengers heard us laughing and chatting and came back to join in the “party”.  The male flight attendant took great care of us (while ignoring his other duties to the chagrin of his boss).  He was having as much or more fun than we were.  We met folks from Toronto, Minneapolis, Nashville and Chicago.  We also met a fellow who worked 2 blocks from our Delta, B.C. location.  Small world, just don’t try to walk it.  The flight delay turned into the best part of our journey.  New friends were made, experiences shared and a great example of providing a Pickle (or 2) was afforded us by that great crew from United.  Our American friends were very complimentary about how friendly Canadians are (after the customary “beauty eh” comments and jokes about our accents).

The moral of this story; we all have choice in how we handle adversity.  Find a way to get through it with a smile and watch how many people eagerly join you.  It’s alarming how many opportunities are missed when we are shrouded in a cloud of negativity.

Till next time; be the most positive, enthusiastic person you know.  THE experience will be greatly enhanced.

PS  I almost forgot.  My colleague spilled red wine on me which I wore on my beige sweater and tan slacks like a man shot at close distance with a sawed off shotgun.  Everyone in the back of the plane had a good laugh about that.  The laughs continued when it became apparent that my luggage did not make it to Newark.  Fortunately it was delivered to our hotel the next morning.

Good times!

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