Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Have a Gift!

So my last post had something to do with the enjoyment of sitting up front while flying in a plane. I knew I was flirting with disaster by putting that in writing, and last week the disaster struck. It started snowing in Atlanta and I was headed to Phoenix. Our flight was delayed about 30 minutes, which wasn’t a big deal. Upon checking in at the gate I found that my wonderful junior first class seat (a.k.a. the exit row) was somehow reassigned and I was given a normal seat on the aisle - don't ask, I don't know. Honestly I was a bit perturbed because I wasn’t feeling too hot and was looking forward to attempting to sleep it off. I found myself next to two large guys and my knees were digging into the back of the seat in front of me. I was trying to figure out if I had just won the lead roll in the remake of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
It was time to take off and the captain advised us that we were delayed another 30 minutes due to needing to de-ice.  I didn’t quite understand this as the snow was not sticking to the ground. Over time he pushed our time back farther and farther while opening and closing the boarding door to let people off. We finally closed it once and for all and headed toward the de-icing area. Oh happiness!

Upon arriving to de-ice we were told it would take several minutes….it only took 3 – no joke. I am forced to pause and ask a question, “What type of ice did we have that could have made us waste an inconceivable amount of time to be melted in 3 minutes?” I digress. We finally took off four and a half hours after we boarded and flew four more hours to Phoenix.

When we got in the air we found out that the plane didn’t fully stock their for-purchase food and that there wasn’t going to be enough for everyone. AWESOME!!!! Needless to say, I was relieved like a lion having a splinter removed by a mouse when it was time to land.

In the midst of this lovely aerial ordeal I couldn’t help but think about my dad.  When I was growing up and unplanned bad things would happen, he consistently had a phrase to sum it all up – I have a gift!  My brothers and I would either laugh at him or just roll our eyes in that “here-we-go-again” style. The phrase is still used to this day and those closest to him can sense it coming from 1000 miles away.  Please understand that he is a positive person...most of the time :)

On the plane I started breaking down the choices that had led me to that moment in time. We had just closed a large deal and needed to meet with our client…that week…in Phoenix. We were having dinner with them that night and chose to fly in early to head off any potential travel delays (if we would have waited for another flight it would have been disastrous). I didn’t control the snow, nor did I control the de-icing procedures or the fact that ATL traffic control was diverting and delaying flights for hours. What I did have control over was my ATTITUDE. I had to choose to distract myself and smile at the people around me.  I had to choose to treat the flight attendants with respect – not sarcasm. Would I have dealt with it better if I had been sitting in my original seat or better yet been upgraded to first class? Do cows advertise Chick-Fil-A?

Regardless of what happened I had to choose my attitude. You too have the same choice to make each day and to choose to at least pretend you sit in first class. You can decide to be buried by unplanned issues and let everyone know about this amazing gift you have, or you can choose to overcome the obstacles and do what my high school English teacher Lynn Rudd used to say, “Proactively choose your attitude.” Therefore I challenge you to let someone else lament over their gift of unfortunate circumstances while you choose to share your bag of smiles, laughs and contagious attitude.