Sunday, March 24, 2013

Airplane Cabins: cultivating humanity?

When I woke this morning (at an unspeakable hour) I had a colleague of mine on my mind.  Rose Cooksey O'Neall is a Flight Attendant at my airline employer and participates in some of the social media groups that I do. Last week she posted some observations of customers on the airplane going out of their way to help one another and the crew by extension to "calm" the atmosphere of an aircraft cabin.  Generally speaking, ours is a workplace rife with anxiety but those who Rose pointed out had each done some little kindness, rendered some assistance to a fellow that served to make things calmer, less anxious, nicer, more "human".  My friend Rose is on a mission to recognize those little wonders of humanity as they occur and to perpetuate them.  BRAVO!

Some examples:  a gentleman assisting a lady who needed help stowing her bag, an older lady sitting with & "adopting" two unaccompanied minors for the flight, another customer switching to a less desirable seat on a full flight so that a family can sit together, a very frequent flyer customer offering his first class seat to a soldier returning from active duty.  All of these acts share a sense of selflessness that is becoming a rarity in our frenetic world.  To put it succinctly, how can we help keep "humanity" off of the endangered species list?

The post has generated much debate.  Should our company take an institutional approach?  Should we each, the frontline employees, take unilateral action to reinforce these wonderful gestures that we see so sorely lacking in the masses?  What is the best approach to promote humanity?

What is the best approach to promote humanity?

The best approach is for EACH of us to take an ownership role in every interaction we have today.  Whether it be with a customer, a colleague, a family-member, or a complete stranger, we must OWN the quality of whatever exchange we have with each other.  If you witness selflessness...a seemingly random act of humanity, acknowledge it, remark upon it, nurture it, reward it, perpetuate it!

The key to the question is that we all seek validation.  We long to know that what we do, what we stand for, who we are is important.

When we spend more time acknowledging and recognizing the good in each other and less time castigating and berating the bad, the tide will turn!  Our human nature will assure that our humanity never "goes the way of the dinosaur."

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