Wise Judgment: Child Leading a Child

I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning about the current state of our airline industry. With airlines still at "just after 9-11" reduced staff and airline schedule level, the stress produced from the customer and staff experience is at an all-time high. This is resulting in packed planes, delayed schedules and Denver luggage ending up in Sheboygan. The decisions having to be made by the airline leadership are complicated and it reminded me of a decision I was faced with on a recent trip.

Standing in the ticket line at the DFW airport, I had a man in front of me talking on a cell phone. He had a 4-year old girl trying to run around the airport in front of him. I say "a" and not "his" because I hope that he was just transporting a child movie star or helping out his brother and that he was not one of the primary care givers to this girl.

After being repeatedly warned to stay put, she finally made one final dash for anywhere other than the ticket line. He grabbed her arm, literally threw her back into him (her feet flew off the ground), picked her up and proceeded to threaten her within an inch of her life, all while still on the cell phone - obviously not talking to his anger management coach.

My "manly-man" instinct was to find someone four times larger than him, have that person give him the Vulcan death grip and throw him into a wall. Seeing that Andre the Giant obviously wasn't traveling to Dallas that day, I just bit my lip. However, my "leaderly-man" instinct was to not react, have empathy for his impatience and then thoughtfully consider whether I should intercede. Her life wasn't in immediate danger and I was not an authority figure in her life or in his life. In retrospect, I could have carefully asked him if he needed help.

Question - what would you have done? Say something to him? Say something to her? Say something to security? After getting my ticket, I just called my wife and asked if she would have driven to Dallas to visit me in the hospital if I would have said something to him and would have probably been thrown into the nearest load-bearing wall...

[Click on the label below to see all posts for that PLI Essential...]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would have offered my assistance with a very "grandmotherly" manner.