A Message About Adult Bullying

After I arrived at LAX from Beijing  7 hours past my connecting flight (and 20 minutes too late to catch the last non-red eye back east) I had a solid 8 hours to kill. I booked it to the Delta Sky Lounge and was greeted by a very kind (and sympathetic)  young woman, we’ll call K. 

There was a line to check into the lounge and she was very sweet and spoke with me while I was waiting. I appreciated her kind demeanor after my long, long travel day. Got checked in and found myself a corner to plug in my phone, have a snack, and take a nap. 

A few hours later, an extremely rude woman came in and started screaming at the first person she encountered, who happened to be K. She was angry about some flight delays that she had experienced and kept demanding free things and then insulting K when she apologized for the woman’s experience and tried to offer her some complimentary items. The angry lady told her that her apologies were “obviously scripted” and she didn’t want to hear her “stupid robot talk.” She demanded Sky Club admittance (complimentary of course) and made such a huge fuss that everyone near the entrance could hear her. She threatened K that she was going to call Delta on Monday and demand that they fire her if she didn’t let her in right away. K told her that the lounge was at capacity (it was- they were not allowing anyone else in at the moment) and the woman SCREAMED that she didn’t care about the rules and would this, bleep bleep bleeping idiot move so that she could wait for her next flight in this lounge because she deserved it. K very politely informed her that not only was the lounge at capacity, but for the safety of the other guests, she could not allow someone who was screaming obscenities into the lounge, and gave her the location of the Delta customer service desk and offered her some meal vouchers for the terminals. The woman stalked off still screaming that she would have K’s job for this and that K was a F’ing moron. 

There seems to be a rise in these types of incidents lately, and you can help by not just sitting idly by. 
In the beginning when things were calmer, I tweeted Delta what was happening and then I saw that the situation was escalating. The woman started making threats, so I walked over and just as I was about to say something, the lady stormed out. I saw that K was shaking so I pulled her aside and told her that I was grateful for how she had handled the situation, that I was impressed by her professionalism and calm demeanor, and told her that I was sending a note to the Delta corporate office with a description of the incident and praise for how well she handled herself. She was worried about her job after that woman’s threats. I assured her again that corporate would be receiving a full account from me and again, thanked her for not only being such a great person, but for protecting all of us from that woman’s temper and mood.
True to my word, I did type up a full account and sent it to Delta customer service. I received a very nice note from Delta thanking me for sending them the information and promising to note my positive review of K in her file and send a copy to her supervisors. 

If you see something like this happening, don’t sit idly by. Step in and say something if you can. Often if enough people stand up to someone who is making a giant scene like that, they will back down. If you are not able to stand up for someone in person, make sure that you write to the employee’s supervisor or corporate customer service line to provide an account of the incident. 

If you are out there K, I am so sorry you experienced that horrible incident and wish you the best! 

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