Rough Grace

My own personal comments are below. Great retelling of a great memory, Mr. Teemley.

Mitch Teemley


It was 30 years ago today, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was crawling with pre-holiday misery. Planes were late and tempers were flaring. The holidays might be impending, but the holiday spirit was nowhere to be seen. And then the announcement came: Our flight to Denver had been cancelled. No reason was offered. Which meant the airline was responsible; if the airport or weather were to blame, it would be the first thing they’d say.

Cranky passengers were greeted by an even crankier Steward. Allen (my partner in the comedy act Mitch & Allen) and I knew that FAA regulations required them to put us on a competitor’s flight if they didn’t have one of their own leaving within four hours. We also knew they would not offer this unless it was demanded.

The only person who…

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2 thoughts on “Rough Grace

  1. As reprinted from the original discussion.

    Wonderful story, indeed. Sometimes grace and good manners need to extra firm on petty functionaries trying to just get through on minimum effort.

    For me, it’s something I deal with every day. My “day job” is a night job working logistics (telling truckers where to go and what to do when they get there) and managing a DC’s incoming and outgoing loads. There is nothing I hate more than telling a driver who just came in from 400 miles away that his load’s not ready, or it got cancelled/rescheduled/picked up by someone else/rejected/put on the wrong trailer/hung out to dry. Sometimes, the problem is self inflicted, other times… often… it’s them just getting the short end of the stick because of their broker or company getting information wrong or not giving the driver the right info to begin with and they bear the brunt of it, and I have no other choice but to send them away, or worse, take their trailer for someone else’s load who’s before them. That makes the stomach go sour.

    I have been there when I used to do short haul intermodal trucking, in a day cab and no money for a hotel either. I know what it’s like to be staring at the guy through the glass when that person is not so nice and throws you out of the yard with all the ceremony of a garbage bag in a dumpster and all your company’s dispatchers are gone for the night. I always try to be as helpful as possible for them, offering them alternatives, and telling them where they can go to safely park and wait for new orders to come down or accommodate them. I make sure there is someone who cares in that glass box, but has very little power to help them out, but what I can do I will.

    Thankfully, most of those truckers are not totally helpless, as they have sleepers or Comchecks for hotel rooms. But none the less, I always remember what it was like to be thrown out of a rail yard with a load on my back that had to get to Perth, Australia on that next train if it was to make the ship and all the stress that could have been prevented with just a word of kindness, and understanding or even an extra search on the terminal for where the load was really stored.

    So, that’s my little thing to say. Kindness costs only a little bit, but can go a long way to saving someone’s sanity in an insane time. (And that’s not even my best story of saving someone in that kind of a situation!)


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