Extraordinary #1

The word “extraordinary” is an interesting word. If you look at it’s spelling, it’s really two words put together—“extra” and “ordinary.” So it’s ordinary, with a little extra twist!

I love to see ordinary people do extraordinary things. They take an ordinary job and do just a little bit more. It’s that little bit more that makes all the difference. These men and women usually aren’t recognized for the “little bit more.” So I’ve decided to write about them when I see them and use this blog to recognize them. Hopefully they will inspire you to also do “the more.”

Here’s an example.

Recently, I was on a flight from Atlanta to Philadelphia. It was only supposed to be a 1½ hour flight. We boarded the plane and taxied out to the runway. Then we stopped—never a good sign.

After a few minutes, the captain came over the loudspeakers and informed us that there was a ground-stop delay in Philadelphia. “They have basically closed down all flights coming into Philly for a while. There is no weather up there, so I do not know what the problem is. But I will keep you informed.”

A few minutes later, he told us that we would be sitting on the tarmac for an hour or so. There was a collective “groan” from the passengers. He then told us that he would be walking through the plane and that we could yell at him if we wanted to. “I’m married, so I’m used to it.” Everyone laughed.

A couple minutes later, he came walking through the cabin. He literally talked to each passenger, row-by-row. He asked us if we were okay and asked if there was anything he personally could do to make things more comfortable for us. He was funny, and was cracking jokes with the passengers. He basically had a smile on everyone’s face by the time he made it to the back of the plane.

As I write this, I’ve been on five flights in the last eight days. Five out of five have been late. On the other four, the pilot stayed in the cockpit. “Why face angry passengers? Let the flight attendants deal with it. That’s their job.”

That’s ordinary.

But not Captain William Bennett, of US Airlines. He isn’t an ordinary pilot. I’ve flown hundreds of times over the years and he’s the only pilot I’ve ever seen to walk the cabin and make sure we were in good shape. He did the unusual.

And that’s extraordinary!

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  1. William Bennett
    William Bennett06-23-2011

    Mr. Mallon-

    To say that I am humbled by your words would be an understatement. I am grateful that I could help positively affect your travels on my plane. Unfortunately, a lot of “industries” have forgotten what customer service is, especially commercial aviation. Without the customer, you can’t operate a business, period. And in the information age we are in, face-to-face customer service is all but lost.

    I’m glad that you had an experience that was so good you posted a Blog about it (by the way, this is my first appearance in ANY blog…), but I don’t feel that what I did was extraordinary. Your choice to fly my airline afforded me the ability to provide for my family, and to have a job that I love, so it is to you that I am grateful.

    I hope to have you on my airplane again someday. Come up and say “hi!” I will be the one whistling in the left seat, wearing my American flag tie, loving the opportunity to get you home!

    ~William Bennett
    Captain, Republic Airlines
    US Airways Express

    • Robert Mallon
      Robert Mallon06-24-2011

      Awesome! Looking forward to being on another one of your flights!!!

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