Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

Most doors open with push

August 4, 2005

There is a fine line between persistence and being pushy, of being driven to achieve a goal and/or being harassing. There are not many people who flirt closely to this line, because people would rather stay on the side of caution, not wanting to be perceived as obnoxious.
I have a tendency to be very persistent. That has been both a strength and weakness of my character. I have tried to taper down on my persistence, but a lot of times I am oblivious to it and have to be reminded to ease up.
A couple of weeks ago, my persistence was put to the test. I was traveling back from Atlanta on a business trip and was excited to be able to have booked a flight that would get me back in town by 5 p.m. on a Friday. As it turned out, I missed my 3 p.m. flight because my meeting ran late. I arrived at the airline counter about 10 minutes late and asked for my options. I was told that the next flight out was at 9 p.m. I asked if they could put me on another airline but was told it was not an option because of strict security restrictions and the fact that it's not a solution that is practiced since it was my fault I missed the flight. I then went to the airline's main counter to see if they could pull a rabbit out of the hat. Again, they made it very clear the 9 p.m. flight was my only option.
A six-hour wait at the airport loomed on a Friday night, and I was not happy. I thought about accepting there was nothing I could do and making the best of the situation. A nice sit down meal at one of the many restaurants would shave off some time.
I knew that would have been the most logical option, but persistence doesn't always follow logic. I decided I was going to find a way to get back to Kansas City on an earlier flight.
In the Atlanta airport, you have to take a train to the five terminals. I went to each terminal looking for a flight out to Kansas City. It being the not-so-big metropolis, there were very few flights out to Kansas City -- three, including my 9 p.m. flight. There was a 6:30 departure posted, but by the time I arrived at the gate, they had cancelled it. I then found a 4:37 p.m. flight at another terminal.
When I arrived at the gate's check-in counter, the attendant asked how she could help me.
Without hesitation I said, " If you can help me, it would be a miracle." She was not amused.
Soon after, I explained my plight. She told me that since it was not the same airline, there was nothing she could do. I continued to ask her to look at other options and suggested that since I got the ticket online and since my arriving flight was on her airline, maybe there was something she could do. She checked again and politely rendered the same verdict. I continued to plead my request without being obnoxious and she reiterated her stance.
A supervisor, who had partially heard my conversation, came over and said something to her. They checked, and wouldn't you know it, because the ticket was issued with a "code six" she was able to apply that to the airline's "contract stock" and she could honor my request.
I wasn't about to ask for an explanation of what the "code six" was or the airline's contract stock. All I could do was thank her profusely for pulling that rabbit out for me. Within 20 minutes I was on the plane back to Kansas City with only a 90-minute delay from my original flight.
I write this because I want to share how exciting and amazing it is when we push ourselves and not let obstacles prevent us from the goals we want to attain.
It is so easy in this time and age to be nice and just accept the situation as it is presented because it would be inconvenient.
This experience proved to me again that we could be pushy and persistent without being arrogant or obnoxious. Sometimes it's OK to want to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and I challenge everyone for the magic and to experience the exhilaration.

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