I spoke at a conference on Saturday, and I gave the audience some examples of the different teams to which we can belong—our place of employment, our community, our family, etc.
I happened to mention that even the passengers on an airplane can be a team. Little did I realize, but just a few hours later, my assessment would be put to the test.
On my flight home, there was a young couple sitting across from me, who were contending with two little ones—both under the age of two. Needless to say, they had their hands full.
The babies were incredibly cute and so well behaved for most of the flight. But, as often is the case, the change in air pressure as we began our final descent started to hurt their ears. This caused the older of the two babies to thrash around on his mother’s lap and cry inconsolably.
Despite his parents’ best efforts to calm him, the poor little guy just wasn’t letting up.
As a parent, I could certainly empathize with their predicament. It can be very frustrating. You feel helpless. Perhaps worst of all, you feel self-conscious and embarrassed by your perceived lack of control.
His parents were trying to deal with their baby, while at the same time apologizing profusely to everyone sitting around them.
As the baby’s crying grew louder, a smooth, soothing sound unexpectedly came over the plane’s intercom. It was the voice of a flight attendant. In a soft, low, Barry White-like tone, he began to sing, “Hush little baby, don’t you cry…”
Multiple passengers soon joined in.
It worked! The chorus calmed the crying child.
Like many of the other passengers, I felt bad for the couple and I wanted to help them. I recognized the problem. But I didn’t take action. Good teammates take action. The flight attendant had the courage and the initiative to act. In this case, he was undoubtedly the better teammate.
When the other passengers joined him in singing the lullaby, it became a classic example of the contagiousness of a good teammate move. His action inspired others to act.
I share this story with you today, in the hopes that his good teammate move might inspire you to act the next time you find yourself in a situation that calls for action, instead of remaining idle.
Flight attendants for this airline have a reputation for behaving outside the box, but this man went above and beyond.
As our plane taxied to our gate, the same flight attendant spoke the following words of wisdom over the intercom: “Always remember the golden rule: It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, you must treat people the way you want to be treated.”
The plane erupted in applause.
I saw lots of passengers giving him congratulatory handshakes and high fives as they exited the plane. I wasn’t able to catch his full name, but I was able to grab a quick photo of him with the young couple and their babies on my way out.
To Southwest Airlines, I hope you realize what an asset you have in this employee from Flight 3583. He is truly a good teammate.
And to the young couple, when it comes to your children crying, remember: Those who mind, don’t matter. Those who matter, don’t mind. It may not seem like it now, but one day it really will be just like the Trace Atkins country song, “You’re Gonna Miss This.”
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.