Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No Baggage Problem Here

     Have you ever noticed that there are some things we're "supposed to" complain about?  These are things like food in college cafeterias, DMV workers, TSA employees, and airline baggage problems.  To be sure, they've all earned their bad reputations, for reputations like these have their basis in fact and real experience.  However, there's often a significant lag time between when these things improve and how long it takes us to acknowledge that improvement by letting go of our old paradigms about them.  I find this to be true about baggage claim in Philadelphia.
     The Philadelphia airport has long been considered one of the worst places in the country for baggage handling.  For many years, it wasn't unusual to wait 45 minutes or more for your bags to arrive after landing, and then you hoped nothing was lost or damaged.  As much as I've flown this year, however, I've noticed a real difference.  I've never had a problem with a damaged or lost item, and my bags have frequently shown up on the belt pretty quickly.  In fact, this was the case upon my arrival home today - so I decided I should say something about it.
     After I got my bag I walked into the US Airways baggage office where people line up to complain about their lost bags and try to resolve issues.  I went to the counter and told the person working there that I just wanted to thank them because my bag arrived quickly and with no issues at all.  I explained that they probably listen to complaints and problems all day long and that no one ever reports that there was "no problem."  I wanted to give them such a report.  There were several people behind the counter and they all smiled and really appreciated the good feedback for a change.  They wished me a merry holiday and I was on my way, having spread a little good cheer around.
     By the way, I've also noticed that there are plenty of TSA agents who are friendly and helpful, too.  Clearly there are many who aren't, but I try not to paint their reputation with too broad a brush.  As with most things in life, you see what you expect to see.  I see plenty of people trying to do the best job they can, and I try to acknowledge that whenever I see it.

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