July 24, 2008

If not you, then who?

Here's an excerpt from my Q/A after my keynote address at the Meeting Professionals International annual education conference in 2008.

Give up your riches for a hero

The topic? If not you, then who? Who will do the right thing that needs to be done?

Give up your riches for a hero from Tim Sanders on Vimeo.

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I am a huge fan of yours. I distribute your books freely, and you signed my book at the Business Objects conference a few years back. I am a huge lovecat.

A year ago, I wrote the very same thing on my blog. I flew through ATL all the time, which is where soldiers hop when coming home. I won't go into great detail about how United treated them, but I asked people to write to United (the military's airline of choice) to stop having them fly standby. Some of them had been waiting over 24 hours to get onto a plane.

When they flew American, I gave them my first class seat. No one else ever did that. I challenged every business traveler to do this on their flights in my blog. I doubt it made a difference.

I would sit and talk to them every week in the ATL airport. I made sure that they knew how much I appreciated them.

One time, a soldier told me how he was going home to see his baby for the first time, and he was coming home from his second deployment. He was standing in line behind a business traveler, who was angry that he was on standby, and it was his birthday. He was berating the staff telling them that because it was his birthday, he should be on the flight.

The soldier turned to him and said, I have been gone for 15 months, and I haven't ever seen my baby.

The business traveler scoffed at the soldier. Guess who they put on the flight? The business traveler, because they are the bread and butter of the industry.

That's when I wrote my blog entry, challenging everyone to write United, and challenging everyone to give up their first class seats to soldiers flying home. It's the least we can do for them.

And I will continue to do it. I have done it for two years, and I will always do it so long as soldiers are coming home from the war.

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