Just When You Think You Know Somebody…

I had the good fortune to spend the day yesterday in Dallas, Texas visiting with our restaurant group. I live reasonably close to the airport in Minneapolis and time my departures accordingly.

I get to the main terminal to park and find out that the parking ramp is full. FULL! As in, no parking.

So the usual questions start in my head: first, I don’t have a lot of extra time; second, now what? There are plenty of orange cones signifying NO, and several orange-vested airport employees waving red flags to direct me away from the parking ramps. Just before exiting the airport grounds, there is a stopping area. They asked each of us whether we were parking for the day or overnight, and then proceeded to give us directions as to where we may find parking.

And not verbal direction – a placard like this one:

Airport

(click on the image to read…)

Ok.  I drive over to the other terminal, a few miles away. Once parked, the next question: where is the free shuttle?  I exit the elevator and am greeted by an airport employee inquiring if I am taking the free shuttle to the main terminal. (yes). He directs me to where that shuttle is located. I get there, and another airport employee, dressed in civilian (read: no orange vest) clothes is handing out Caribou Coffee gift cards. “Sorry about your having to park over here. Have coffee on us!”.

What?

Arriving via shuttle at the main terminal there is another question:  how do I get from here to my gate? There were at least four airport employees waiting to assist with luggage and gate directions.

I arrived at my gate in plenty of time. Well, I DID have to cut out the shoeshine, but we all have to sacrifice. After all, it is spring break!

So just when I think I know my airport and how the whole experience has become incredibly dehumanizing, they do such a wonderful job!  I am impressed by how the airport team had thought through the questions one asks when in a stressful, unexpected situation – and had the answers (and free coffee!).

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