Planning for our summer back home takes a long, long time. We have no home base, and every family member lives in a different state. There hardly seem to be any direct flights these days, and…well…procrastination did not work in my favor. I took care of the international flights earlier, but the domestic parts were more like a very complicated puzzle to be pieced together.
After doing the initial legwork online, I called the airline and was immediately introduced to “Bob.” You never know what kind of personality you’re going to get on the other end of the line, so I decided to test the waters by starting with “Bob, we’re going to be on the phone together for a while…” I could tell almost immediately that he could handle this and wouldn’t be a disgruntled employee along the way.
Instead, I got the extreme opposite.
In between waiting for computers, asking seat assignment preferences, and providing frequent flyer miles, I learned many things about Bob:
*His 16-year old dog died a few days earlier, and seeing the dog’s picture beside his cubicle made Bob very sad. But he’s had good luck with long-living dogs, having one live to be 21 and another to 15, so he feels fortunate.
*Bob used to work (sing/dance) on Broadway, although he neglected to tell me what he was in. Because of this, he was participating in some music video his employer was creating the next day. He was grateful for mild weather these days because it was going to be a grueling “fun” day.
*Several times, Bob told me that he graduated college the year I was born, so I can guess how old he is. That often went back to the dancing on Broadway, and why the next day would be so tough.
*Bob apparently has a high IQ, although our Skype kind of cut out when he told me exactly how high. He did, however, say that he had made some very smart investments over his lifetime and was quite wealthy, having homes in California, New York and a large one in Minneapolis, all paid for.
*Having worked for Delta (and previously Northwest) for many years, during the merger Bob received a few round trip tickets anywhere, but he’s never desired to come to Asia. I tried, but don’t think I convinced him otherwise.
*Bob was working a 16 hour shift, and was close to his 15th hour when I called. He took his friend’s shift so she could have Memorial Day off, but he was getting tired.
*When the phone rang with still an hour and a half left on the clock, Bob was worried that it would be a customer complaining about a flight. Instead, he got me. At first I wasn’t sure if he meant that as a compliment or not, but after realizing that he rather enjoyed chatting me up, I think my nightmare flight schedule rather intrigued him and helped the time pass more quickly. He bid me a nice day in Beijing, and that was that.
Bob. I have to say that he’s one I’ll remember. He was certainly customer-friendly and handled my requests. Humble, he wasn’t, but that really had nothing to do with my flights…just more of my Skype time. But if learning about him helped him help me, I was all for it.
Thanks, Bob, for piecing together the puzzle of my summer vacation.
Photo by virtualpilot88 of flickr.