Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Space Between

As I write this post, I am on a plane flying from San Francisco, California to Seoul, Korea. I find this time away and out-of-touch during my trips to be very interesting; I even wrote a post about it several months’ back. This post isn’t about the time away, or even about my thoughts during these long trips. I want to talk about the little things that people do to make life better. Also, this post isn’t an advertisement, but I’m sure it’s going to sound like one.

The flight from America to Asia runs about 14 hours. This gives time for reflection, but it is definitely one of the worst parts of traveling. You find yourself cramped in a very small space for a VERY long time, cabin fever tends to set in at about 8 hours and after that you are just dying to land and get off the plane. Today, I am traveling on Singapore Airlines. Whenever I see Singapore Airlines on my itinerary, I smile...

I am a Capitalist and I believe that businesses need to be smart to stay in business (and to keep us employed), but too many people make their buying decisions on cost alone and businesses today are cost conscious to the extent of being insensitive to the people; they don’t think we care and maybe we don’t, but we should. Singapore Airlines is a little piece of heaven. The Stewardesses are uniformly: beautiful, attentive, professional, and caring. The airline provides hot towels and real food in coach (with reclining seats). These things may seem trivial, and maybe they are, but they give a little comfort when so much of our world seems cheap and impersonal. I get the feeling that Singapore Airlines cares about me, but more important, I feel like the PEOPLE at Singapore Airlines care about me. It doesn’t really take much; a smile, a friendly nod. When I fly on American airline companies, I expect them to be cheap but what is worse is that they treat me more like a box that they are moving from point to point than like a human being. This seems to have permeated right down to the attendants and ticket people, all of whom seem to feel like they have no reason to treat others with respect and kindness.

It’s not the wine, or the ice cream that they just brought to me. It is the feeling I get from everyone here that I matter and that they want me to be comfortable. When I think about it, we are all on a journey from here to there. We all get caught up in little things that have no real meaning (like how well we’re doing and how many things we have). I think how much nicer the journey would be for all of us if we’d just take a clue from this small Asian Airlines: respect each other, be kind and caring, do the little things…smile, listen, and care. The funny thing is that it takes so little, but it still seems like too much for most of us (me included).

Best! Norm.


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