Your Bag is Fine; YOU are Lost!


During the holidays, I had the opportunity to fly to Texas with my family. I found myself in the baggage claim department for Southwest Airlines. I have heard a few war stories related to traveling. The following story is one I will always remember:

I was talking to this little old lady who was telling me the story of her lost bag. She could not believe that the airline had lost her bag. It was not that hard and she needed it.

Then, I got to hear the story again when she told the Southwest employee. The employee politely asked for the ticket. After she looked at it, their conversation went something like this:

Southwest employee: “Ma’am, your back was checked in Jacksonville.”
Little old lady: “I know.”
Southwest employee: “You are in Houston.”
Little old lady: “I am?”
Southwest employee: “Yes, you are.”
Little old lady: “Oh my.”

The employee had to tell the woman that her bag was fine — she was lost. She had to go to the ticket counter to get on the next flight to Jacksonville.

As I reflect on this story, I have mixed reactions. It is funny. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. But I also feel sorry for the little old lady. I can’t believe the airline made that mistake (and I’m curious what they did to make it up to her).

Then, I wonder if it could apply to us. Sometimes, you think you’ve got it all figured out, then BANG!! You are the one that is lost; not your bag. We have all been there, we are certain that the other person messed up and we can’t believe how they can be that clueless. How can they not get it?

Next time you have that feeling, ask yourself:
Am I the person that is missing something?
Can I look at the situation from a different perspective?
Did my mental model mess me up?

Before you jump on the blame train, take a step back and make sure you haven’t missed something. It is much easier to recover and fix the situation if you haven’t told everyone and their dog that they lost your bag. 🙂

Be observant, be humble and ask for help. Our teams want to help. Lead the Interstates Way.