Can’t have it your way

Published: November 17, 2012
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They cut in front of lines or block one’s way with their big, tinted cars and armed guards ushering other cars out of the way, hinting at the owner’s powerful status.DESIGN: IMAAN SHEIKH

I once worked as a customer service agent for a reputable airline out of Chicago’s international airport. My job was to board the aircraft and resolve issues like lost children, racist groups and controlling wives and suited men throwing tantrums.

I saw people of all breeds.

Because Chicago is called the Windy City, flight delays due to weather were frequent.

One night, a 7:00pm flight was given a 12:00am departure time. Passengers screamed and roared and we repeatedly apologised. Close to departure, the flight was cancelled.

“I regret to inform you, Flight 2345 has been cancelled. We apologise for the inconvenience. Please see us for rebooking. Thank you!”

The flight was cancelled due to an ‘illegal’ crew that exceeded its flying time — and was no longer allowed to operate by law — with no sub-crew available. As angry passengers rushed to form a queue, a sharply dressed gentleman with a briefcase in one hand and a mobile phone in the other cut in front of everyone and slid his platinum flyer card to me.

“Sir, there’s a line, please get in the back of it”, I told him sternly.

He approached my colleague, a witty, flamboyant Puerto Rican man, but to his surprise, my colleague said the same thing.

“I’m a platinum member and I want to be taken care of first!”, he shouted.

The crowd that wanted to hound us now wanted to kill him.

“I want the first flight out, I want a hotel room and I want monetary compensation”, he screamed as he threw his briefcase across the lounge.

“Well this ain’t Burger King, mister”, my colleague reassured him. “So you can’t have it your way!”

I burst out laughing along with the crowd. Inevitably, we compensated everyone so the crying, suited baby only made a fool of himself.

Now, I live in Pakistan and often see people acting superior to others in public. They cut in front of lines or block one’s way with their big, tinted cars and armed guards ushering other cars out of the way, hinting at the owner’s powerful status.

Relating this to my previous experience, I guess money does not teach one manners.

Follow Mahrukh on Twitter @Mahrukh_Abbasi

Mahrukh Abbasi

Mahrukh Abbasi

A Sub-editor at the Life & Style desk of The Express Tribune. She tweets @ Mahrukh_Abbasi

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