A bad employee can make a fine mess

This is a follow-up to my last blog post titled “Will we ever make it to Spain and Morocco?” If we do, it won’t be anytime soon. One thing I’ve done for a long time is keeping a journal. I’m a long way from being any kind of professional writer; however, I discovered sometime ago that writing is a way to get frustrations off my chest.

If you’ll recall, my wife, two daughters and I went excitedly to the airport early this past Sunday morning, to be dismayed by the fact that there were no tickets available to us. We went back home, waiting to hear something from the travel agency, which I won’t mention. The agency is not open on weekends, but there was an emergency number for leaving messages. Someone did call us early the Monday morning. My daughter said the person, who called, was bending over backwards with apologies. It seems my daughter was rendered service by an employee, who had made a debacle of more customers travel plans than ours. She’s no longer with the agency. A review of her work indicated that she hadn’t finalized the flight bookings.

The agency spent the better part of Monday morning trying to reschedule things. Their efforts, though appreciated, weren’t convenient. Of the four of us, I’m the only one who’s retired. Flexibility with daily activities is almost like a mantra for me. Anyone who does international travel knows there are certain cultural happenings that can create scheduling challenges for Americans. We were trying to take this trip during Ramadan. In addition, the summer vacation season is upon us. The travel agency couldn’t get all four of us on the same plane to Europe. They also couldn’t get all four of us to arrive at our initial destination at the same time. These scheduling changes would also have moved our travel itinerary ahead to times when both my busy daughters, and wife would have work commitments.

I found myself not having many good things to say about the travel agency; however, my oldest child, who footed the bill for this trip, told me this agency had done a marvelous job coordinating a trip to China for her and a friend before. This caused me to think, the agency must have had some real challenges planning a trip to a country, of which we’re not on the best of diplomatic terms. My daughter’s friend was going to China to adopt a child. Everything went well. This disappointment resulted from the actions of a bad employee. Do I blame the employee or the agency, who hired her?

I’ve been retired now for over four years, and I do remember how one employee can ruin it for a customer and the team who has vowed to grant excellent service. Imperfection is a human frailty that sticks its head out ever so often, and when it does, it can make life miserable for somebody. Believe it or not, I’m doing fine, and I think Chris is too. Felicia, my loving daughter and the bank roller for this trip, is quite disappointed. She saw this as an opportunity to spend some high-quality time with her dad, step mom and sister. Cecily is highly disappointed too. Disappointment is a hard pill to swallow, but it passes, leaving room for more exciting things to come.

As unfortunate as our experience has been in this situation, there are no doubt innumerable more, of a similar nature, occurring as I write. One good thing that has resulted from this “bad employee” saga is the travel agency is going to refund Felicia all her money (lots of money!), and they’re going to give $500.00 travel vouchers to each of us. Gaining from misfortune?

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

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