Not everyone responds to a major flight delay in the same way.
Perhaps you’ve seen it.
Some wait patiently in line to make alternative arrangements, some start conversations while waiting in line, some run around thinking they can find a shorter line, some think their personal situation outweighs every other personal situation and try putting themselves in front of those who have been waiting for a long time in line, some laugh, some stress, some become cynical, some get angry.
Some watch it all.
Not every airline employee responds to people waiting in line the same way.
While all are trying to be helpful, some are anxious, some can barely contain their frustration, some are patient, and some are only pretending to be patient.
In every case, the situation was out of our control, as we waited for the plane we had already loaded and unloaded to be repaired.
And being out of control is a set-up for letting our real personalities come through all the reserve we’ve spent all these years developing and all the grace we spent so much time pretending we have.
While we might have been glad not to be on a plane that had a short and wiring problems, no one was expressing thanks or relief or even smiling very much.
Not everyone waits tables in the same way.
Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences.
Some waiters and waitresses are chatty and warm, some are professional and formal, some are impatient and give you the impression they wish they were somewhere else because they’ve already had a long day and the last table didn’t leave a tip.
Not everyone who sits at a table responds to servers in the same way.
Some like to talk, some like to order and be left alone, some like to have help with their selections, some like to change their minds.
I consider the years I spent working in restaurants to help pay for my education, an education in itself.
As a result, I have been known to encourage those entering adulthood to take on jobs at places such as restaurants or grocery stores, and not just for financial reasons.
It is those places where you have to work with people who are happy or sad, busy or distracted, angry or impatient.
There is something about seeing so many people so briefly in such settings that opens your mind to what kind of a person you want to be.
It also helps you know how it feels to be on the other side of the counter, or the register, or the table.
Sometimes the situations are unpredictable, sometimes the people are unpredictable, sometimes how we react is unpredictable.
And that is, sometimes, the best way to learn about others. And about ourselves.