Karl’s company was about to move to new heights, and this only reinforced his growing arrogance. However, after mistreating an air hostess on his flight to a life-changing meeting, Karl is finally humbled.
Karl was a middle-aged man well on his way to the big leagues. His company was about to become a subsidiary of a large multinational corporation.
Karl came from humble beginnings and had worked all of his life to finally get to this point in his career. He was set to travel to Chicago to sign his deal, and he was over the moon.
Karl had long awaited this moment, and he was set on enjoying it as much as he possibly could. He got himself a business-class ticket to celebrate his new venture.
His newfound success was beginning to go to his head, and Karl became a little reckless with his behavior and how he treated people. As he sat in his business-class seat, he pompously took in the view that surrounded him. This was his first time in business class.
“It’s about to be one hell of a celebration,” he said to the man sitting next to him.
“Oh, really!? What are we celebrating?” the man asked.
“I’m on my way to Chicago to sign the contract of a lifetime. This is definitely a champagne moment,” a cheerful Karl explains.
“Oh wow. That’s great. I’m happy for you,” the man said.
“What is this? The audacity! You take thirty minutes to bring me my champagne, and it’s warm!? Are you serious?”
“Hey! A chilled bottle of your best champagne!” Karl barked to the air hostess, snapping his fingers rather rudely.
“No problem, sir. I’ll attend to you in a second,” the air hostess kindly responded.
Thirty minutes went by, and Karl became agitated because he still hadn’t received his order. The air hostess finally came with Karl’s champagne, and Karl was not pleased at all.
“So? What took you so long? I’ve been waiting for about half an hour?” Karl barked at the air hostess.
“I’m so sorry about that, sir. I had to handle something in economy class,” the air hostess calmly responded.
“What is this? The audacity! You take thirty minutes to bring me my champagne, and it’s warm!? Are you serious?” Karl snapped, shoving the champagne bottle to the floor.
“I’m sorry, sir! I just—” the air hostess nervously started before being interrupted by a further agitated Karl.
“Stop with the excuses! Just do your job! I am your boss here! You understand?” Karl barked, the rest of the passengers now looking on at his spectacle.
As he was going off at the air hostess, who did her best to hold back her tears, an elderly woman, Anna, stepped into the business class cubicles. Karl was astonished to see the Chief Executive Officer for the very company he was about to sign to. Anna went straight to the air hostess and greeted her warmly.
“Thank you for what you did for me,” Anna said.
“It’s no problem. It was my pleasure,” the air hostess said, feigning a smile as she wiped her tears.
“Why are you crying?” Anna asked, concerned. Karl uncomfortably shifted to the side as the air hostess turned to look at him, with Anna following.
“Well, I think you should apologize to this young lady.”
“Uhm… Just… I just had a little disagreement with this gentleman here. That’s all,” the air hostess said, trying her best to conceal her hurt and frustration.
“Karl? What are the chances of us being on the same flight?” Anna said, shocked to see Karl and curious about what role he had to play in the air hostess’s sudden sadness.
“Uhm… Anna, yes, it’s a surprise to see you here. Why are you in economy class?” Karl hesitantly asked.
“Well, it saves me money to give to charity and other worthwhile causes. And you? Why are you making this woman’s job more difficult than it has to be? I heard you all the way from my section,” Anna said.
“Uhm… No, it’s just that she took forever to bring me my champagne, and it was warm when it arrived. Poor service delivery,” Karl said, sticking to his arrogance.
“Well, I think you should apologize to this young lady. While you were waiting on your champagne, I had an asthma attack, and she was kind enough to drop everything and attend to me. She saved my life,” Anna explained to Karl rather firmly and with conviction.
“Saved you?” a confused Karl asked.
“Yes, that’s what held up your champagne. I’m sorry about that. But don’t be so rash as to call out people on doing their job when you don’t understand the full scope of things. Take this as advice from someone who would’ve been your boss,” Anna said.
“Uhm… ‘Would’ve,’ ma’am?” Karl nervously asked.
“Karl… I have lots of money, but what would I do with them if my life was in the hands of the stewardess today? Never put yourself above other people. You may need their help. Anyways, we’ll conclude this conversation in Chicago,” Anna coldly said before turning to the air hostess with a smile. “And thank you again, my dear.”
“I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have treated you like that,” Karl said to the air hostess.
“It’s okay,” she responded.
Anna walked out of the business class section, leaving Karl completely perplexed. Karl became nervous about his contract when their flight finally landed in Chicago.
As fate would have it, Anna retracted the offer to Karl’s company, and the deal never ended up happening.
What can we learn from this story?
- Never put yourself above others. Karl’s arrogance made him treat people wrongly, but it worked against him in the end.
- Kindness goes a long way. The air hostess dropped everything to help Anna, and her kindness brought Anna to her defense later when Karl was mistreating her.