Life lines ‘It’s as easy as ABC’

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By Ian Robinson, Major

Coming back from NAOC, there we were, a group of Western Territory officers sitting at Orlando Airport waiting patiently to fly the friendly skies back to Los Angeles, when a figure in uniform approached us.

Not surprising, right? There must have been hundreds of uniforms at the airport that day. Airline staff, military personnel and Salvation Army officers to name a few.

This one was the airline variety. In fact, it was the captain of our flight who wanted to know if we had been on relief duty for the tornadoes that had swept through the South a few days earlier. We told him where we had been and after engaging us in pleasant conversation for a few minutes he wandered off to talk to other passengers.

Next thing, we heard his voice over the intercom making the boarding announcements, calling for all active military personnel to board first. He continued to make announcements about the weather en route, and after takeoff he assured us that he would be avoiding turbulence wherever possible.

Then he welcomed The Salvation Army group, publicly thanking us for our service and producing a round of applause from the other passengers!

When I ordered an expensive sandwich and offered my credit card to pay, the flight attendant handed it back to me saying, “Don’t worry, it’s on us!” Later she distributed the captain’s business cards to every officer on board with a handwritten “Thank you for all you do” message from him on the back.

Will I fly the friendly skies again? You bet! No wonder crew members fight to be on his flights!

This was not only good customer service. This was the spirit of Jesus’ words when he said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12). We call this the Golden Rule and, in fact, although most faiths have a “golden rule,” only Christ states it in the positive.

The captain’s actions demonstrated this important principle. While we were huddled in post-conference withdrawal, he was moving and interacting easily with the crowd, making them feel not only welcome but important, just as he would want to be treated if he were a passenger.

How do we treat visitors to our corps? How do we act toward guests in our programs? Do we huddle with our comfortable group of friends and uniforms? Or do we make visitors and guests feel welcome and that they matter to us?

My wife commented that it reminded her of something I said in a sermon a few years ago about the ABC’s of Christianity: attitude, behavior and character. When we have the servant attitude of Christ we model loving and accepting behavior to those around us. This reflects moral integrity and uprightness of character, which in turn begins to attract people to him.

It sounds easy. But just as our captain had obviously been developing his people skills for years, we too need to practice our ABCs and develop them until they are as natural as, “A-B-C, as easy as 1-2-3!”

From the desk of… ‘Solid foundation’

From the desk of… ‘Solid foundation’

By Pamela Strickland, Lt

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