Just Smile and Say, "Hello."
I don't know about you all, but I absolutely love to smile and say, "hello." I find that life becomes a lot more enjoyable and fulfilling when I do so. I recently had a very positive experience with a notoriously poorly reviewed airline all because of a smile and a greeting. I'd like to just share this experience with you to not only appreciate Spirit Airlines and give it a positive review, but also to encourage others to step out of their comfort zones.
I flew home to Atlantic City, New Jersey this past Friday for Memorial Day Weekend and booked a return flight back to Orlando, Florida on Memorial Day with Spirit Airlines. They were by far the cheapest tickets I could find compared to other airlines and so I did not expect much. Friends and family recommended that I check in exactly 24 hours before my flight in order to get better seats on the flight.
At 6:32 PM, I started to furiously refresh my internet so that the second it turned 6:33, I could check-in to my flight. Everything went according to plan and as I finished my submission, I received an email with my flight details. With extreme enthusiasm, I clicked on the email expecting to have an aisle or window seat within the first 20 rows!
My assigned seat was 28 B; a middle seat in the back of the plane. I was stunned with disappointment.
I concluded that there was not much that I could do, so I reluctantly accepted the truth and proceeded to the airport the following day. The Atlantic City airport is pretty small and I can usually expect to get through check-in, baggage, and security within about twenty minutes on a busy day. This is where the fun begins!
1. Stepping out of my comfort zone
I am generally an outgoing person, but I don't always go out and about saying "hello" to every soul. But on this day, knowing that I had so much time, I decided to get my boarding pass printed out with the front desk rather than the automatic kiosk.
I walked up to the desk with a big smile and simply said, "Hello!"
2. Engage in conversation (even with strangers) and genuinely listen and want to hear their stories
I won't disclose the employee's name, but what started as a simple greeting turned into a whole conversation about how we spent our weekends; spending time with our friends, creating new memories with our families, and remembering the honorable fallen. As my ticket was getting printed out, she noticed my seat and mentioned that she might be able to do something about it. She advised me to head to my gate and come up to her if she was there.
3. NEVER expect something in return and show absolute graciousness and appreciation if you do get something
I thanked her for the conversation and the offer and walked over to my gate not expecting much. Twenty minutes before boarding, she appeared at the desk and motioned for me to come up to the desk. A few minutes later, she ripped up my old ticket and handed me a newly printed one with a new seat. She upgraded me from Zone 3-Seat 28 B, to Zone 2-Seat 3 F; a window seat right in front!
I thanked her several times and attempted to express how much I appreciated her ridiculously kind gesture. I boarded the plane that day with a smile on my face and an urge to spread more kindness to others.
The purpose of this story is not to convey that you will get things in return for saying "hello" or that you can always upgrade your seat on a flight. Rather, the purpose is to encourage you all to step outside of your comfort zones, wear your smile as much as you can, and greet others (even strangers!) more often.
In today's world, I find myself glued to my phone's screen constantly especially in public transportation areas like bus stations, airports, and train stations. One decision to choose a conversation over technology lead to a great memory and a new friend. What will you choose?
I hope you got some value from this post and I would love to hear about any fun or crazy airport stories you have had in the comments below!
Stay Safe, Stay You =]