“I Freaking Hate American Airlines!”
Those are the words that flew out of my mouth on Friday, February 12. They had lost my wife’s luggage, and no one had a clue as to where it was.
They finally located the bag and had someone drive it to Anderson … but they brought the WRONG luggage. (After we had clearly told the lady we spoke with that it was a pink, hard case; they brought us a black duffel bag.)
Saturday—more of the same. I kept hearing, “We are not sure,” and “We are trying,” but NOTHING was happening. So … I used my social media platform to “get their attention.”
By Sunday, I had simply had enough and UNLOADED on American Airlines with a barrage of tweets complaining about their lack of service. On top of that, when people confronted me about this online, I felt the need to “put them in their place” by retweeting them and following it up with sarcasm to make them back down.
FINALLY, American Airlines found my wife’s luggage and returned it, and I had seemingly squashed everyone who tried to confront me on Twitter.
I was feeling awesome about myself … until … I realized that my actions in all of this were some of the most un-Christlike things I had ever done. Below is a list of the four idiotic things I did.
#1: I used my voice to tear people down rather than build them up.
Was it wrong for me to call out American Airlines online?
But the way I did it was very wrong.
I could have put out a tweet simply asking for help.
Instead I allowed my emotions to take over, and I allowed anger to be my motivation instead of focusing on trying to be more like Jesus—which resulted in me tearing down American Airlines as well as anyone who disagreed with me.
#2: I did not tell a better story.
On Sunday, February 14, we saw 18 people receive Christ at NewSpring Church, and 242 go public for Christ through baptism, but … instead of focusing on what JESUS had done in our church that day … I completely misdirected people toward something I was angry about personally. Consequently, I believe that the work that Christ did in our church that day was under-celebrated because I had an ax to grind!
#3: I did not heed biblical wisdom!!
Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
I personally set one of the worst examples of leadership by allowing the evil in my heart to be put on public display!
Proverbs 17:27-28 says,
27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Sometimes it’s best just to stay silent (still learning this lesson!)
And then JESUS said in Matthew 12:36-38,
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.
I’m pretty sure careless tweets are included as well (and I gave Him quite a list)!
#4: I set a poor example as a leader.
The way I reacted toward American Airlines is not the way I would have wanted my daughter to act toward someone. It’s not something I would have allowed a staff member to do without being addressed. Yet … I did it, and I set a poor example.
This has definitely been a humbling process to walk through. If the interaction I had in that time period hurt or offended you, I apologize. I definitely “fell down” in my walk with Christ, and now … I’m getting back up and dusting myself off. I can’t freaking wait for this Sunday at NewSpring Church!!
(And, to anyone who works with American Airlines that may read this—thank you for the numerous times you have safely flown myself, my friends and my family members all over the world! You have always made sure our luggage was there when we arrived! Sorry I made such a big deal out of the one time you “failed” and didn’t say THANKS for the hundreds of times you’ve gotten it right!)