My day began with excitement and anticipation as I eagerly boarded the plane for what promises to be an awesome week of working with teachers and leaders in the beautiful state of Hawaii.

The morning started out great, but went downhill quickly after two delays and a plane de- boarding.  Still in fairly good spirits, I was hopeful that I would still make the next flight and be ready for the days of learning ahead.

Three hours later, and no closer to my destination, I was growing more frustrated and went directly to the customer service counter in hopes of help and understanding.  It’s there that my day took a turn for the worse. As I stood in line, watching customer after customer being handled with indifference, disrespect, and at times even inhumanity, my patience wore thin.

As my turn approached, I couldn’t help but ask the question I knew was on so many of the customers’ minds: Do we matter to you?

The agent, caught a bit off guard, ignored the question and proceeded to quickly move me through the line. A customer in line next to me, repeated the question to the agent again saying this:  “Ma’am, it is obvious that we don’t matter, but could you at least fake it and act like we do even for a second.?”

Her lack of response spoke volumes. The stranded passenger next to me summed up in this simple and eloquent statement:

 “All people want is to know that you acknowledge they are having difficulty. No one in this line expects you to solve the airline’s problem, they just want to know their problem matters to you and that you will do what you can to help. Not just because it is your job, but because it is the right thing to do as a person.”

We were all given our “$10.00” meal vouchers and thanked for flying with friendly skies. The  day went on as normal. And that’s the problem. This is “normal”, standard and accepted practice in far too many businesses, organizations, and even schools. Doing business as if the “customer” does not matter not only hurts the customer; it hurts the industry. Showing up to our jobs and to our lives as if how we act and behave does not impact the people we meet is not ok.  We can do better than this, and it really is not that hard. A smile, a kind voice, a face of compassion, a simple I’m sorry goes a long way.

For the past several weeks, I have been making the case that two words can change the world. I know today of fifty people who would have loved to hear and know this to be true.

How about you?

  • How would your next trip on a plane or to the store be if the individuals you did business with showed you that you were a valued customer?
  • How would your day go, if someone acknowledged you just when you needed them to?
  • What could you accomplish faster, smarter, stronger if you knew that by showing up you would be appreciated and valued?
  • What could/would these two words, YOU MATTER do for you?

What does mattering mean to you?

FYI- I am finally here.

Looking forward to the day tomorrow, and will promise to make it matter!