Helen

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Although it is easy to criticize the many hard things about airline travel, the fact is that it is easy to throw the baby out with the backwater. Am on flight to Asia right now and thoughts go back to a woman who was a customer service rep for United.

She died last year and I was shocked. One flight happy greeting and the next she had passed away. She was always friendly and not just because the company manual said so. She was a genuinely nice person. Who noticed and paid attention even until the end. I’ve traveled lots and seeing the attendents close to retirement do these man killing flights to Japan. It’s a crappy deal but like humans everywhere we endure. Either easily and with kindness or not.

Anyway my friends Jon and John often talks about Jungian philosophy where thesis meets antithesis finally resulting in synthesis. That is neither truth A nor truth B.

Here is what this means to me. United is a huge souless organization that is about profit maximization. Crushing to employees. Not even peanuts for snacks. Terrible delays.

Yet the antithesis is United is also a collection of real people with real joys and real sorrows. Helen and the folks who endured this flight with me today are like that. She didn’t have to smile. I get her photo with a famous wrestler on flight I was on. But she did and she got one. Just a few weeks before her passing.

The synthesis is that life is complicated. This 747 in all likelihood will land and we’ll all forget about this flight 10 seconds after we land. Yet there is grace in the whole thing if you pay attention and who knows maybe someelse on this huge plane is wondering if she is watching over us.

Great lessons for u

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