I continue to shake my head at the obvious lack of respect in our country today. The latest example of this is the treatment from a U.S. Airways flight attendant to a highly decorated military serviceman.
According to numerous news and eyewitness reports, First Sergeant Albert Marle asked a flight attendant if he could hang his jacket to keep it from getting wrinkled on a flight from Portland to Charlotte. The flight attendant refused, using the reason that he was not a first-class passenger and that it was USAIR policy. Sergeant Marle was polite and did not argue or make any kind of demands and took his seat.
Ok, so I am a little bit confused here. I travel a lot. I am a frequent flyer on numerous airlines and I live in airports more than I live at home! I have traveled on USAIR recently because they merged with American Airlines and American is my airline of choice. Every time the boarding announcement is made the gate agent says; “We will first be boarding anyone who needs special assistance, anyone traveling with small children, and we would like to extend an invitation to our uniformed military to board now.” This is before First Class is allowed to board. If it is the policy to grant special early boarding to our military, why is it against policy to hang his jacket?? It makes no sense and I am sure it is not the policy of this airline to disrespect any member of our active military.
This type of behavior unfortunately is all too common in this country. Whoever this flight attendant was, she obviously had no clue that this man put his life above hers to keep her safe and allow her to do her job. She likely could have had some sort of bias against the military because she could have easily taken his coat as a gesture of thanks.
It is the little things in life that make us who we are, but we have become such a self-absorbed, entitled nation that many people don’t even think about doing kind and courteous things for each other.
Remember when men used to open doors for women? Remember when someone would hold the door if you were loaded down with packages? How about giving up a seat to the elderly on a bus or train? I noticed in NY recently that on a crowded subway, a gang of teens sitting with earphones on, glued to their phones, never even took notice of an elderly woman standing, trying to hang on to keep from falling. No one even bothered to give up their seat to this lady. My friend and I held her arms to support her during the ride because I guarantee you she would have fallen.
This is where we are today. When there are no consequences for bad behavior and no one is shunned for disrespect, we will continue to see things like “the knockout game” taking place in our communities. When schools allow children to disrespect and intimidate their teachers you can expect this type of behavior to grow and flourish. When the gangster mentality is glorified and praised, you can expect that children will imitate it and bring it into their lives. When parents are not even allowed to discipline their own children’s bad behavior, how will they ever learn right from wrong?
Hopefully this story about the Army Ranger on USAIR will not go away. Maybe enough people will make up for it by going out of their way to make sure one of our military hears a loud “thank you for your service!” I don’t know about you, but I am going to make a daily commitment to show my respect and thanks to someone.