Snow, lots of it, fell across the Midwest this past Tuesday. Planes flying out of Saint Louis and Chicago, Indianapolis and Des Moines, were slow getting out of their gates and delayed getting into the sky. By evening time flights all over the country were experiencing ripple effect delays.
The plane United Airlines was going to use to for Flight 856, 8:00 p.m. from Newark to Dulles International in Washington D.C., had started the day in Saint Louis, and by noon was already hopelessly behind schedule. Try as they might, they just couldn’t make up for the lost hour or so. By 2:00 in the afternoon, United posted an hour plus delay for 856 from Newark to Dulles.
Our Brazilian friends Michael and Sara and little Augusto were booked on United 856 to Dulles where they would connect to 861, a long overnight to Sao Paulo. The original itinerary had given them an hour and 20 minutes to make the connection. The delayed itinerary made that connection iffy at best.
So, I called United. And had a great experience. A customer service representative working hard to serve the customer. The 7:00 flight was also delayed and, in any event was full. But there was room on the 5:10 flight if we could be in Newark by 4:00. The rebooking took some time; I could hear the keys on the customer service representative’s computer clacking in the background. “All done, and good luck,” he said.
We dropped off Michael, Sara, and Augusto at Terminal A at 3:50. All connections made; they were home in Belo Horizonte by early Wednesday afternoon.
Okay, I was a little stressed in the “We’ve got to go right now!” moment, but thanks to the United Airlines customer service representative, all is well that ended well.
The United Airlines experience was the first score in this week’s customer service hat trick. The folks at New Growth Press who are covering the U.S. Postal Service’s customer service failure have been great, and the replacement books will arrive – Fed-Ex at no extra charge – soon. Then there is that great little bank in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where Becky and I still do some business. Sam and Karen: as always, thanks.
Maybe God knew I needed a customer service hat trick this week. Or maybe, as my friend at United Airlines offered, it was just good luck.
Common grace understands that God sends the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. It is a here and now thing that cannot touch eternity, but may, in its own small way, point to that still more excellent way.
It’s been a busy few weeks with stress-producing episodes brewing in every corner. Maybe God knew I needed a customer service hat trick this week. Lord, who might I serve well this week?
See You Sunday