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Not Just Another Stressful Trip To The Airport

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My dad was a salesman. He regularly left home on 2-week missions to sell more of his “stuff” in order to pay the mortgage for a home large enough to house my mother and their seven children. I was #2 and I remember those days like it was yesterday.

“Mike,” you say, “who cares?” Stay tuned. I am talking to YOU.

My dad loved to fly and he loved his work. Based on our comfortable living conditions while growing up in a big house open 24/7 to all shape and size kids and their friends, he was a pretty good salesman.

Flying used to be an exciting proposition. I suspect that another reason he enjoyed traveling so much had a little to do with that 24/7 thin …, but that is just my guess. That being said, he liked meeting people and was nimble on his feet. He whistled a lot. He was a happy guy.

I too became a salesman when I grew up and I also took to “the road.” As time passed however, the excitement of lining up like beef going to slaughter while marching down a hot or cold ramp into a cramped, hard, pre-selected seat became less of a treat. The risk of sitting next to a crying baby or some grumpy old codger became a real mood buster. The mere thought of another crowded airport filled with self-absorbed rude people had a way of turning a guy off. I found myself walking toward Gate 42 dreaming of employment behind a hot dog wagon repeating with a lilt in my voice,

“You want mustard with your dogs? Will Pepsi do? Yes it is a nice day. Have yourself a good one?”

Well, it’s that time again. Time to hit the road. I’m heading for the airport soon on another “Business Trip.” But as time works wonders, I have re-developed my mind-set and am actually looking forward to this trip. Honest.

By the good fortune of the CBF, (competitive business fairies,) I have been given the opportunity to do some good in this over-populated, over-congested, over-technical, over self-absorbed, over-stressed, over-weight, over-worked, presumably under-paid, (except if you are a professional athlete … then you too are over-paid) world of ours.

I have an opportunity to make a difference in this stress-filled world. Not by appearing as a judge on American Idol, but buy bumping into hundreds of people along the way, and sharing a little bit of “bounce” with them.

This isn’t just another business trip. It is a GO (golden opportunity) to spread the benefits of a happy attitude to many who might have forgotten what one looks like, and feels like.

And the good news is that I do not have to pay anything extra to pack my wares. A smile, a good word and some sincere eye-contact are all it will take. It is amazing how a simple tweak in one’s thinking can make such a HUGE difference in one’s attitude. “Lookout airport people … here I come. Lookout world … likewise.”

Just think about it. I will soon be in the presence of baggage handlers; counter personnel; gate attendants; flight attendants; waiters and waitresses; hotel concierges; jitney drivers; maids: police men and women; military travelers; and I hesitate to mention a periodic “bar keep” or two.

In each case, there is a small chance that “the boy from New Jersey” can bring some laughter, appreciation, joy, and interest into their ordinary, day-after-day, same-ole, same-ole existence. How cool is that? How important is that? On this “business trip” I will be in position to make a difference.

And the good news is that I don’t have to be anything but … me. No roll playing. No “let’s play pretend.” Just good old fashion, call-em-like-I see-em, add a little levity when the situation calls for it, me.

I once said, “Oh ^&$^! I have to take another business trip.”

Now I say, “Oh boy! I get to take another business trip.”

I am sure my father saw these opportunities the very same way. And I am betting it had something to do with his whistling.

Contact Mike at or visit

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