Airlines do not typically make the headlines without there being a very good reason. These headlines are usually written with one of two different goals in mind: shedding light on awesome behavior or alerting the world to the awfulness that has taken place. Fortunately, this story happens to fall into the former category. This airline CEO was found to behaving in a kind and thoughtful manner.
Rebecca Kuchar Krutz typically likes to fly Delta. However, she ended up on a United flight on this fateful day. She was sitting in first class and the company’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, boarded the flight soon after. This should not have been noteworthy but what happened next took many by surprise. The CEO decided that the needs of a frail senior in the first class section came before everyone else’s.
Rebecca watched the whole situation unfold and knew that she needed to share this story with the rest of the world. While there are many who do not always associate United Airlines with these types of gestures, Oscar is looking to change that perception once and for all. He does not like to treat passengers like customers. He treated this senior woman like she was his own grandma.
On her Facebook page, she said:
“I’m a pretty loyal Delta Airlines customer. But tonight I was on a flight w the CEO of United. I was a bit surprised seeing him walk back into the economy section of the plane to take his seat. Seated in front of me on the plane was an elderly lady in her 80’s (maybe even early 90’s). She didn’t appear to be in great health and had a bit of a hard time with her speech. Prior to boarding, I’d seen Oscar (the CEO) make his way out of a crowd of people in order to go over and speak w her.”
Oscar is the type of person who was raised with the proper level of respect. Once news about his act of kindness started to circulate, he spoke out about his past experience. He was raised in a house where children were taught to respect their elders. If his grandmother walks into a room, the person sitting in the most comfortable seat gets out of their chair.
“That, ladies and gentleman, is how it should be done. Treat our elders with the respect and care they deserve. I may very well be a lifelong United customer after witnessing that act of selflessness by a man who likely has his own private plane and yet was humble enough to give up his seat to an elderly lady he’d never met before because he thought she’d be more comfortable there. United??”
We travel on a regular basis and this is something that we wished more people were willing to do. It breaks our heart to see the elderly crammed into uncomfortable spaces because their younger counterparts are not ready to do what is right. Oscar proves that you can become a CEO without allowing your change in perspective to alter your fundamental principles.
Oscar told the Houston Chronicle:
“I was brought up in a house where we were taught to respect our elders. I have a grandmother in her 90’s and if she walks into a room where family is seated, we rise and offer her the most comfortable seat. We do this out of love and respect as she is the matriarch of our family and we feel she deserves to be treated this way. You did this exact thing; only for a woman you’d never met before, and likely will never cross paths with again. Thank you for extending such kindness and respect to an elderly passenger. While it may have been a small gesture for you, I can assure you it meant a great deal to her, and though I don’t know her, it meant a great deal to me as well.”
If everyone was willing to follow Oscar’s lead, just think of the world that we could live in. We hope that this story circulates far and wide. Do your part to spread the word about what has taken place. The smallest gestures can make a major difference in the lives of the people that we share space with on a daily basis. Be the change that you wish to see in the world.