Not twenty minutes ago now, I was in my car nearing my destination here at work when a story on the radio prompted me to zone in and listen intently. Be it in the car looking out the window listening to the radio or on the Internet, there are stories and lessons to be learned everywhere.
Apparently the Pearson Airport in Toronto has shut down entirely, coming to a complete stop. This means that for two hours, planes cannot depart or land, as conditions are so severe with temperatures plummeting and icy conditions, that it is not deemed safe to do otherwise. Many passengers are being delayed and being forced to sit on planes or in the airport itself in various reception and waiting areas.
Now to be sure, it would be frustrating to be stuck in that situation for several hours, not knowing when you would be departing on a plane either to get home, vacation or business. And there’s only so long you can be stranded without needing to sleep, eat, etc. Yet understanding all of this, I couldn’t help but think how fortunate all those people really are, and I considered all the people who work at the airport who are trying to do their best in trying circumstances to deal with the backlog of people who are increasingly frustrated.
If asked, I doubt many of the passengers would opt to taxi down the runway and take their chances on getting off the ground and safely into the skies, especially when those who know what they are doing are advising against it.
With the current action being taken, no one is at risk of going up in a ball of jet fuel due to some plane sliding off the end of a runway. And were “the okay” to be given, and heaven forbid, this exact situation did occur, you can bet later that survivor’s of those incinerated would sue the pants off whoever made the decision to fly in these conditions, saying that the alternative of waiting, however inconvenient, sure beats cleaning up scattered luggage, airplane and body parts.
So in these frigid conditions, I for one think of the poor sap whose out on the tarmac doing his or her very best to get the runway in top shape for those passengers waiting to take off or land. I appreciate the pilots and co-pilots whose pattern of wakefulness and sleep has been altered, for they above all others need to be in top mental shape and ready to fly when they get the word they are good to go. And the harried staff behind the counters who are on the front lines and have to deal with rude, insensitive and belligerent people who morphed into their darker selves. I’m sure they would love to pass on updates and accurate information which they aren’t currently in possession of.
The situation is degenerating so quickly that extra police have actually been called in to deal with the swelling number of people who are arriving at the airport to depart without having checked their departure times ahead of arriving, plus the backlog of passengers already there.
In the grand scheme of things, all those people will eventually get where they are going, and most know that on an intellectual basis. One passenger on the radio said this was the worst experience she’d ever been through and that next time she’d be flying out of Buffalo in the U.S.A. I imagine there’s a clerk somewhere in the Toronto airport that would love to open a taxi door for her and slam it when she gets inside, saying, “Good riddance!”
There’s some lessons to be learned at that airport and for anyone aware of the story. Not everyone has reacted so rudely; and in fact, some will appreciate the thoughtfulness of the decision-makers to ensure their safety. Being prepared for delays and staying in command of one’s own behaviour no matter the situation would appear to always be good advice. But it seems like so many people view the world from only their personal perspective. “I find this intolerable. I am inconvenienced. I must be treated in such and such a way. What am I supposed to do for food, and what are you people going to do about it?”
Under trying circumstances, how do you perform? What are your personal limits when it comes to your level of tolerance? This information is good for you to personally know because from time to time we all have to deal with situations that cause us to be stressed, tested and stretched to our limits. Whether it’s on the job as in the case of the airport staff trying to deal with these people, or at home dealing with a furnace that conks out in the dead of night, we all deal with things differently.
Learning lessons from others, deciding what’s important to fight about and what isn’t worth it, or, in the case of the airport situation, beyond an individuals control, is extremely beneficial to getting along with others. And in your workplace, you can take these lessons and what you’ve learned and put them to good use in growing as a person, handling things better and wiser.
Written By Kelly Mitchell
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