I sent the following letter last Thursday to my contact at Continental. I received no response, so I do not have permission to post individuals’ names, but I wanted to post this anyway to give credit where credit is due. If I do get permission to mention names, I will update this posting.
Now that the hubbub surrounding what happened to my daughter on Sunday has died down, I wanted to write to you and thank you, personally, for how you handled things.
During all of our conversations, you remained calm and poised despite a great deal of provocation from me. I yelled a lot and made quite a few demands, and while I think that everything I said was justified, I know that many people on the other end of such a tirade would have reacted with defensiveness and hostility. Instead, you were consistently clam and apologetic. The way you handled yourself proved that there is at least one person at Continental who knows how to do her job well.
I was especially impressed by the fact that you stated repeatedly that you weren’t going to say that you “understood what I went through,” since never having gone through it yourself you couldn’t possibly understand it. While that may be a somewhat trite cliché, it was the right thing to say in these circumstances, and I appreciated it.
I would also like to pass on to you, on behalf of my father-in-law, commendations for the Continental staff in Cleveland, who were helpful and courteous throughout our ordeal. In particular, my father mentioned that [elided] (I may not have the names spelled exactly correctly) stayed past the end of his shift to ensure that M arrived OK and also offered to return to the airport on June 28 to ensure that her return trip is uneventful. My in-laws wanted it to be noted that [elided] was also extremely helpful, as was a customer service person whose name was “[elided] or something like that” (I’m sorry we didn’t get the full name).
I would be grateful if you would pass on this email both to your own supervisor so that he or she can make note of your excellent handling of this incident, as well as to the supervisors of these other employees who performed well in our time of crisis.
I would like to post this letter on my blog to give public recognition to you and the others who performed well, but I of course do not want to publish anyone’s names without their consent, so please let me know if this would be OK. If you do get permission from the other people mentioned above for their names to be published, please let me know their correct spellings — I really hate it when people misspell my name, and I would really prefer not to do it to someone else.
There are a couple of loose ends that I hope you can help me tie up, but I will write to you about those under separate cover so that they don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Wow – what a really nice letter you wrote. I’m glad that you were able to get to this point. I’ve been following the story and have seen lots of the – shall we say “colorful” dialogue.
Of course you have every right to be upset and to ask for an explanation of what happened. From everything that I have read, it sounds like Continental did an outstanding job handing the situation (other than their initial error, of course) – making sure that your child was never left unattended at any point, and then were open and honest with you about the situation after it happened. I’m glad that you have been able to acknowledge that, and hope that this will allow you to bring some closure to it.
It sounds like they want to make it right for you, and I expect that they will use the very unfortunate mistake to tighten up their procedures to prevent it from happening again.
In this day and age when there are so many stories of harm happening to our children, it is nice to see a situation where the system really did work, albeit not perfectly, but still worked to ensure the safety of your daughter. That is of course what is most important.