Lessons from the airport

By Ron Pereira Published on May 18th, 2008

Recently, in the DFW airport, as I was buying a bottle of water I watched an older man chastise two of his younger workers for wearing earrings. Apparently, in this store you aren’t allowed to wear things in your ears. Fair enough.

But the way the older man handled the situation made me want to puke. He yelled at one of the young men for all to see… then he walked over to the other young man, who was working the cash register, and brushed their hair back to see if they were wearing one. Luckily, the second young man wasn’t.

His Side of Story

In fairness to the older man, perhaps he’s battled this issue for some time and finally had enough. Maybe his wife left him last night for some young whipper-snapper with 3 earrings. I don’t know.

All I do know is the way he handled himself tonight demonstrated very little respect for his subordinates.

No Kaizen Tonight

No matter the situation, it’s safe to say there will be no kaizen in this store tonight. These three folks will likely do their very best to make it through the shift… only to begin the torture again tomorrow.

That’s no way to work. That’s no way to live.

I truly felt sorry for all parties involved – even the angry old fellow. It reminded me that the way I treat people is far more important than any lean or six sigma tool.

Our Challenge

So, as we all start a new week, let’s all do our best to treat others with respect.

And if you are in terminal D of the DFW airport (around gate 25) stop by the Paradies Airport Shop and say hello to the nice folks working there. They could all stand to hear some nice words from a smiling face… especially the two young men working the evening shift.

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  1. Chris Akins

    May 18, 2008 - 5:35 pm

    The old adage, “Reprimand in private, praise in public” has its merits.

    I would imagine the kids in that store could probably find another job that pays equally as well, where they may be better treated, with little effort. Same goes for skilled employees in today’s job market. Even with all the talk of recession and increasing unemployment, it is still an employees market.


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