Have you ever believed you were one kind of person, only to have evidence to the contrary thrown in your face? I had one of those moments last week, and I’m not proud of it.
I would say that I am a patient person, a kind person and an inclusive person. I like to believe that I treat everyone the same regardless of ethnicity or gender. For the most part I still believe that is true! But you know that saying…”you’ll know them by their fruit”… or maybe “when you kick the can, what’s inside comes out”… well the can got kicked last week and I wasn’t proud of what came out!
It started innocently enough with a phone call from an agent telling me that there had been some changes to my daughters flight plans and I needed to call them immediately to confirm that I was good with it! You know, the visit that I am counting down to (1 weeks,5 days, 5hours, 44 minutes, 43 seconds)! I made the call after checking my itinerary and seeing no changes online. The airline had changed one leg of her journey, which made it impossible for her to complete her journey home. They assured me that they would rebook her and all would be well, or we could take a full refund. This flight was booked 3 months ago to snag sale pricing and could not be rebooked for the same price!
This began a painful 4 1/2 hours of; listening to a possible flight plan, agreeing it would do, being put on hold so the agent could check with her supervisor before booking only to have her come back and say it is not possible or no longer available and start the process again! 4 1/2 hours, 2 different agents and the best possible scenario involved her flying back and forth across North America in a convoluted flight path with ridiculous departure and arrival times…but it would have to do! We ended that day with the agent telling me she just had to get the airline to book the last leg, from Atlanta to Tokyo and it would all be done. She assured me I would have a confirmation email within the hour. I ended the call…
And then the meltdown ensued! I ranted at my hubby, I said unkind things about the agents involved and I cried! Now the situation was frustrating, and messing with my daughters visit is dangerous territory! We are more stressed than we realize in learning and adapting daily in our foster parenting journey, but those things are only part of it! What I was most angry about was dealing with agents who obviously did not speak English as their first language. I kept thinking that if I was talking to someone who spoke English it would be going better, I was judging the capabilities of the person on the other end of the line because I was struggling to understand them.
I’m not proud of this!!!
It showed me something about myself that I didn’t want to see! And I’m processing it! There is no guarantee the process would have gone better with an english speaking agent, the process is not the fault of the employee on the other end! I learned the next day that this is the result of them pulling the Boeing 737 Max 8’s from service. All the airlines are adjusting schedules 3 weeks out and dealing with the fallout! Imagine how busy that is.
I looked at the ugliness that is racism … in me… and realized I have some work to do, but I have the resources and support to do it! I picked up the phone the next day with a more humble attitude and slogged through the process for another 2 hours only to cancel and rebook in the end… and yes it cost more money! This was not an insurmountable hurdle for me although it was a bigger frustration than I counted on!
So what about the other mother… the one who’s children I now care for. What came into her life and sideswiped her ability to cope? What ugliness surfaced in her… that she couldn’t tame? What stole her hope and left her reeling? Who was there to talk her off the ledge, give her a hug and say she is loved and rub her feet while she cried? I know the answer… no one. And in a long string of heartbreaks and setbacks she lost the ability to see clearly and care for her children.
The difference between her and I is not primarily character as we all like to assume, but support! So I am thankful for the community that still “raises” me to be the person I need to be. For the family and friends who surround me and the community that calls me to be more than just the default version of myself. Not everyone has this support network and it’s not always their fault!
The problem is resolved with the travel plans, and by God’s grace I will continue to sort out the thoughts and feelings I experienced in the process! When we come to the place where we are consistently our self no matter what the situation or company…I think then we are on the right track!
So if you’ve had an epic fail recently you are not alone. But don’t leave it there to haunt you! Do the work to figure out where things went wrong! Get the help you need to respond the way you would like to next time. Admit that it might be beyond you and include others in the journey! Talk to a counselor, a spouse or friend!
I want to be someone who is truly kind, patient and inclusive! Someone who always seeks to see the best in everyone! Join me in the journey!
In the midst of the mess,