About Me

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I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Business Travel...again

I thought I'd write a brief note about what I thought was an extremely nice experience during my business trip last week. I was flying by way of Dallas on to Shreveport Louisiana for some training. Louisiana in July would not have been my pick, but that's where the training was. Ugh.

I also don't like to fly...gives me super-bad headaches. Plus, if something goes wrong, you can't really duck, and there's rarely an accident that is no worse than a fender bender. When something goes wrong, it has a great chance of going *very* wrong. As a safety engineer, I tend to look a the complexity of an air craft and dwell on all of the things that can go wrong, and what effect those wrong things might have. It's in my training. It's what keeps me off of roller coasters. Well, that, and roller coasters make my insides churn.

In any event, on this particular trip I remembered everything except the Advil. By the third hour of the trip to Dallas, I had an awful headache. I asked the flight crew if they had any Advil or Tylenol, but alas, they did not. They offered me soda, but that stuff turns your bones into talc, so I declined.

Coffee? Nope. Sorry. She *just* dumped it.

Dang. As it was only a half hour 'till touch-down, I declined their repeated offers to brew a new pot for me. Seemed like a waste of coffee, and I'd be able to get meds on the ground in somewhat short order. I went back to my chair and tried to relax.

In no time at all, one of the kind ladies of the flight crew showed up with a cup of coffee for me. How nice! She mentioned that even if I get a little, the caffeine may help a bit.

I was really surprised that the crew would be so nice to little old me! But wait! There's more!

The lovely woman sitting next to me, understanding that I apparently had a headache, offered me some Advil (or Tylenol). How nice! This is what made her a lovely woman, and not just the lady sitting next to me. These two women helped to restore my faith in humanity!

But there was one more kind person nearby too, because the flight attendant showed up a moment later with Tylenol that another passenger offered up for an ugly fellow passenger in pain. Apparently hearing of someone with a headache, anther passenger volunteered to help out!

I really thought that was nice, and it made that particular flight a pleasant memory in spite of wishing that I could remove my forehead and stick it in my carry-on.

Usually, the few times that I've flown, all I've ever gotten is "no, we don't have that...go sit down and hum".

This was the first time that I've ever flown American Airlines, and I was very pleased. The crew certainly went out of their way to help me out, and did it with a smile. Four smiles, actually, because that's how many women were there when I originally asked, and I'm sure that they had a conversation about making the coffee for me even after I declined.

I have another trip likely to come up in November. I'm hoping to: 1) remember to take Advil, and b) fly American Airlines!

Louisiana was ok, but very hot in July!


  1. You would not receive that sort of service here - unless you were very lucky. Which is sad. And it is even sadder that you needed to record what ought to be 'ordinary human kindness' - which these days isn't. Sigh.

    1. Geeze...I was feeling special for a moment! :)

      I hadn't considered your point, but your are *so* poignantly right.

  2. You sound like a commercial. You should send that story in and see if you can make money off of it.

    1. Hehe...always looking for a way to make a buck, eh, Cubie?

  3. That was very sweet of them. I sure wish someone would have that kind to me yesterday. No headache here, just a lack of envelopes. Could you believe I couldn't find one? I went everywhere, although in this town, everywhere is one store. People must have thought I was nuts, I was walking around saying, "envelope,envelope, someone envelope. I need an envelope. Did they stop making envelopes?"

    1. Well, I must apologize: I never heard your request. Had I heard it, I most certainly would have given you any envelope that I might have...not that I could find them in my own home!

      Quote that springs to mind with the 'one store' comment:
      "...you get that? The *whole store* had the flu!"


  4. Did you get to eat any weird things down there? Gator? Snake? Spotted Owl? Manatee? Narwhal?

    1. Unfortunately, I did not get to try any of the indigenous wildlife...uh...native cuisine. :)

      I really only had time to go find myself a single meal, and I was at that point feeling pretty crappy, AND it was like a bu-gillion degrees in the shade (which for this pasty north-boy ain't so good). I ate at a steakhouse called "Saltgrass", which was actually an excellent steak for reasonable prices.

  5. I've never flown American, almost always Delta, and they're the Greyhound buses of the sky. Right down to the stinking toilet closet, loud engines you have to yell over and minimal air conditioning. Should I ever fly again, I'll keep this in mind. And I join EC in noting that what was once common courtesy is now a rare occurrence and that's very sad.

    1. Yeah...I've had the same experience with Delta. In the past for business I've flown JetBlue, which is bare-bones sort of flying (although clean, at least).

      It may bear noting that the flight crew on this particular American flight were a bit more mature than I'm used to seeing; perhaps that made them a bit more compassionate.