While waiting at the American Express Centurion Lounge in San Francisco (SFO), I observed an interesting situation that I would like to share with you. I had about 2 hours before my flight, so I had a chance to have a quick breakfast at the lounge. This Amex location is a bit small, which means that it is often crowded, and this morning was no exception.
After waiting a few minutes, I found a small table in one of the rooms where I could sit down, check email, and enjoy my breakfast. Right next to me was a gentleman sitting on a recliner. He was busy reading messages on his iPhone, and was also having a coffee. The seat next to this traveler became open (yes, another recliner), and an older gentleman quickly made his way to it. He put his bag on the chair, and proceeded to get some breakfast.
However, before going too far, he noticed a newspaper sitting on the other man’s table, and he asked, “Sir, is that your newspaper?” In a split-second, the man tersely responded, “Yes, it is!” The older man acknowledged the response, and walked away.
Given that I was just a few feet away, I observed the entire situation. I understand it’s probably not a big deal, but I was concerned regarding how the man with the newspaper responded to the older gentlemen. I thought it was inconsiderate.
Here are responses that would have been nicer …
“I’m almost done with the newspaper, so give me a few minutes, and you can have it.”
“I’m reading the Sports page. Would you like to read the other sections?”
“Which section would you like to read?”
I do understand that the newspaper belongs to this individual. However, I believe that we should do what is possible to show respect for others. The older gentleman probably wasn’t bothered by the response, but I thought it was less than professional.
Why Does It Matter?
I have a feeling that when we’re rude to strangers, we are probably even more rude with people that we know. The individual with the newspaper had every right to refuse sharing the item with someone else. However, there is a more tactful manner that could have been used.
There’s no doubt that I learned from watching this situation. The next time that someone approaches me about a newspaper or something of the sort, I will do my best to be nice. I will acknowledge the person, and share when possible. The point is not so much about giving up something that we own. The real takeaway here is that we take the time to listen to other people. We might not able to share something with them, but the way we respond is important.
After observing this event, I knew that I wanted to let you know about it. It’s a small thing, but one that has an important message. If you remember, Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Now that I think about it … the Golden Rule could have been the title of this blog.