My flight to Newark was late.
My connecting flight to Geneva took off in 10 minutes.
If I missed my connection, I would miss my speech the next day.
And I was stuck in the very last seat on a packed plane.
I started to panic. There’s no way in hell I’m going to make it! I thought.
Then I had an idea. During our descent, I illuminated the call button and explained my situation to the flight attendant. She promised to make an announcement over the PA alerting everyone that a passenger from the back needed to leave immediately to catch an international connection.
We touched down. I clenched my carry on in my lap. My fingers dangled above the seatbelt like a gunfighter from the old West.
The plane taxied to the gate and came to a stop.
But there was no announcement. No warning from the flight attendant. Just the “ding” of the seatbelt sign being turned off. And I watched 50 passengers in front of me stand up and gather their bags.
“Hey Scott, what happened to your announcement?” asked the guy next to me.
“Dude, I don’t know! I guess she forgot!”
“Well you better do something or else you’re never going to make your flight.”
He was right. I had to do something.
Then it hit me. I didn’t want to do it. I knew it would piss off everyone else on the plane. But I had no choice. No way was I going to miss my speech in Geneva!
At the top of my lungs I announced: “LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, MY FLIGHT FOR GENEVA DEPARTS IN 10 MINUTES AND I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD PLEASE ALLOW ME TO COME TO THE FRONT OF THE PLANE!”
Everyone stared at me. I gave one of those “I’m-so-sorry-but-I-have-no-choice” smiles. Finagling my way through the crowd, passengers groaned and shook their heads at me. I started to sweat. I heard one guy say, “Hey buddy, we all have flights to catch.”
By the time I got to the front, 50 pairs of eyes burned a hole through my shirt, which was now drenched in my own nervous sweat. The flight attendant waited for me at the door with a big smile on her face.
“Way to speak up Scott! I’ve never seen a passenger do that before.”
I ended up making it to Geneva on time. I gave my speech the next day and rocked the house. Halfway through my presentation, I told the story you just read and concluded with the following piece of advice:
Stand up, speak up, or get shut down.
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Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag