Kids & Teachable Moments

24 March 2011

Back to Work’s episode Little Velvet Hands was in my head the other day, so I used it in a teachable moment with my son.

We just took a family trip to Phoenix, AZ to catch a little Giants Spring Training (Merlin, that’s cricket). When we fly, we always have the kids, 5 & 9, pack & pull their own roller bags. All the better to teach how to navigate the whole airport thing. Plus ownership & responsibility is good, right?

This trip they wanted to check their bags. BAGS FLY FREE on Southwest, so why not?

On the flight home, we land at SFO and they lost my son’s bag - he’s the 5 year old.

The boy, “WHOO-HOO! I DON’T HAVE TO UNPACK TONIGHT!”

As awesome as that is, that’s not what I came here to tell.

I stood in line, behind bunches of the seriously grumpy people, I gave my phone number, I got the receipt. And we left.

When Southwest called the next day to say the bag had been found they gave me the option to have it delivered or come pick it up and get a $50 voucher . We live close to SFO so I chose the latter.

I chose to bring the boy. It was, after all, his bag. And he needed to pick it up.

So we drove to the airport. I gave him the receipt. We walked in to the empty Southwest baggage claim area and to the baggage desk. Behind it was one woman who was clearly on a soul-sucking phone call in the middle of a soulless shift.

When that call ended, she looked at me and said, nearly perky, “Can I help you?”

And then a 5 year old boy pointed to the corner, handed her his receipt, and said, “That’s my suitcase.”

She beamed. “Well then let’s get it checked out so you can take it home.”

Clickity-clickity-clackity.

The boy, “What happened so that my bag wasn’t with everybody else’s bags?”

She, grinning, “Somebody forgot to put it on your plane. But we put it on the next one.”

The boy, “You mean from Arizona?”

She, “Yep.”

The boy, “Ok.” “Thank you.”

I sent this to not only to brag. But because what we talked about all the way home is how the lady was there waiting for him and that he made her smile while she did her job because he was nice.

And that most people she dealt with during her day were mad that their luggage was missing and were NOT NICE to her. So it was important to remember that it was helpful to be nice when you can because it makes people smile.

That and he had to unpack his bag when we got home.

The boy, “Oh, MAN!”