A recent study conducted at Princeton University found that humans, as a group, secretly enjoy the misfortune of others, also known by the hard to spell German expression "Schadenfreude." Thus, we appear to be hard wired to love it when someone else has problems. I would hope that none of us would be in that group, but then the law of averages...
Yesterday zooming through the TSA Pre-Check non line at DIA (Also known as DEN or Denver International Airport) I felt a tinge of the old freude, as I watched the shuffling herd move slowly wiggling along in those Disney-esque lines leading to the eventual TSA interrogation, shoe-removing, belt tossing, laptop opening, and three ounce only rigors that precede flying these days. I will also confess to glaring at the hapless in Coach when I flew First Class, but that's another story for another post.
I hope we do not succumb to the feelings mentioned above. I try to be nice to all those I meet, even the less than gracious, when I travel or am at home. During a recent stay I had a lengthy, but halting conversation with several of the housekeeping staff, some of who spoke no English and others who spoke just enough to get by. I met a marvelous Concierge there, a woman named Bernadette, who enthusiasm for her job, and her guests is among the best I have ever experienced. She was also a good listener, and I love to chat, as some of you have guessed. Part of the old "Make em feel that you like them" training I suppose. But Bernadette, who had also spent a career with Southwest Airlines, was a gem. Folks like her are the reason that Marriott makes me feel welcome. I spoke about her to the GM, and not surprisingly he knew her qualities very well. Bernadette, the GM and I all had read the Southwest story immortalized in the book by the Freibergs, called "Nuts."
So, I have my Schadenfreude meter set to "off" and hope everyone else does too.