Some people just go above and beyond the call of duty. It might be their upbringing, their training or simply their good character.
Case in point. After disembarking on a flight from London to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport aboard British Airways I realized that I had lost the sash to my coat. Not an outrageously costly mistake but an inconvenient one. Especially as it was chilly outside. I raced back through security and asked a B .A. Agent to check my flight. She did. And found nothing on the now passengerless plane. But I insisted it had to be there, either in my seat, or in the overhead compartment or on the floor. So without complaint she went back. And minutes later, emerged from the gateway -still empty handed.
She asked my name and apologized. It was not her fault, of course. It was mine. Or perhaps it was my husband’s. He was the last one to see it, wasn’t he? He put it up into the storage bin upon take off and removed it-sans sash- when we landed. I have learned something after a decade of marriage though and one bit of wisdom I have acknowledged is not to bite the hand that feeds you. He had just treated me to a fabulous weekend, hadn’t he? After which we were back at the airport on our way to Heathrow when who did I see manning the check in desk?
“Mrs. Barnfield?” she inquired with a smile. “Yes, how are you? I asked warmly, explaining to my husband that she was the polite and helpful B.A. Representative who’d scoured the plane looking for my lost item of clothing a few days before.
I have a surprise for you,” she said with a grin before I could further the conversation and like a magician promptly pulled out my once lost sash from beneath her desk.
“Are you good or what?” I exclaimed. “Where did you find it?” I asked.
She explained that after I had left the airport -belt less-she learned that there were two cleaning crews on board my plane, not just the one she had questioned. So she went to the second team and recovered my sash.
Charlotte Buijs may be an airline employee now but any number of spy agencies could do a lot worse than recruiting this self starter into their ranks.
“You had told me your name,” she explained. She had taken the initiative to ask, I remembered. “So,” she continued, “I looked up your departure date and realized that I was working that day.” So, rather than placing it in lost and found or letting someone throw it away, she rescued it and waited for me to reclaim it.
I checked to see how many flights come in and out everyday from Amsterdam. According to published reports, “It is one of the major European airport transit hubs handling over 40 million business and tourist passengers per year.“ That’s a lot of people and I am sure a fair number of them have had some sort of complaint or problem like me. Unlike, me, I am also pretty sure that very few of them can report back stellar results like I can.
Charlotte Buijs raised the bar that day. She should be rewarded or recognized for going that extra mile. If she were willing to make that kind of an effort for a stranger from whom she could expect little more than a “thank you” then what more might she contribute everyday to someone as important to her well being as her employer?