How to Get a Cranky Person to be Nice to You

HolidayAirTravelAs a motivational speaker I spend lots of time in airports, where here is no better place to observe human behavior – at it's best, and at its worst.

One day a while back I found myself in a connecting airport when the plane I was scheduled to fly on was grounded. The  clearly miserable gate agent was having to rebook dozens of people on new flights and everyone, including her, was stressed, upset and angry,  As one man finally got his turn with her, he was almost screaming, as if the whole thing were her fault. He proclaimed that she was a TERRIBLE representative of the airline and was hopelessly incompetent. True, she wasn't taking it well, but he wasn't the first person blasting her. She was about to hit the end of her rope when my turn came and I approached the counter. Without even looking up from her computer she said tersely, "Yes."

I leaned in and very sincerely said, "Whatever they are paying you, it's not enough to put up with all this."

She immediately looked up at me and I swear, she almost started crying. She whimpered, "Right? I know, right?" 

While she endeavored to rebook me I told her how I wasn't sure I would have been able to hold it together with Mr. Mean Guy and I was impressed that she could. She thanked me so much for being kind and seeing what she was up against and then she handed me my new ticket.

I looked at it and noticed that she had booked me in first class on the new plane. Surprised, I said, "Oh, I wasn't in first class on the last flight." She looked me straight in the eye, and with a slight smile said, "You are now."

Moral of the story: Be kind. Even when it would be most justifiable to be otherwise. It just might land you in first class.




Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

Did you enjoy this post? Just jot down your email and we'll keep you up-to-date with all of our motivation and entertainment.

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. I love stories like this!  There needs to be much more kindness and compassion in our world.  We can overcome those mean people out there!

  2. I'm going to try that! And, as a matter of fact, why stop at the airlines? I'm going to Starbucks right now to be nice to the barista!

  3. Truth! Given my natural nature to be critical of ineffective systems, I thank my folks daily for drilling into me the power of kindness. How wonderful you took action, Linda, to show your appreciation and respect for the gate agent. Kudos for being a keynote speaker off the platform who practices what she preaches. Bonus: warm nuts!

  4. Remember that bumper sticker "Just Be Nice"?  I stuck it over the door jambs of both of my boys' rooms. Yours is a perfect example of how extending a kindness to someone results in your being swept up in their happy cloud!  Glad you did that for each other!

Speak Your Mind