The “Spirit” of Diversity

I flew to SHRM on “Spirit” airlines and let me just say, lesson learned. If you want to hear more about that experience go to my post “Have you got Spirit?“.

While taking the red-eye back to Chi-town yesterday (which I don’t recommend) I began looking around the plane at the diverse group of fellow passengers and couldn’t help think “wow”! If I could have gotten away with taking their pictures with my handy-dandy camera in my phone, I would have. Instead, I thought that to be very intrusive to take pictures of characters with their mouths wide open while they slept.

Instead, I’ll describe them for you. On the same row with me of course was my business partner and friend who constantly talked to me but kept me laughing all the same. Next to her was an older gentleman, who even though had to go pee a million times and he was seated next to the window while I was in the aisle seat, I had great patience and sympathy for (My Dad has to pee a lot because of his prostate issues).

On the row across from me was an older guy snoring up a storm and next to him some pretty old chicks who talked incessantly (I’m not sure how he was able to sleep through that). One of them had to be wheeled to the gate because of some kind of debilitating unnoticeable handicap.

About 1/3 of the way into the 3 1/3 hour trip I started smelling something so nauseating I almost threw up in my own lap. I looked at Sue (aka – business partner) and noticed she had her shirt covering her nose so I asked her “what is that horrible smell?” She said, “OMG I don’t know but it’s coming from up there” and pointed to the seat in front of us where this not-to-bad looking guy sat next to Mr. Rapper. (We had to smell that smell, which apparently was halitosis to the umpth degree , the whole trip).

Somewhere from the back I kept hearing a kid talking so loud and was thinking, “Why would a kid be on the red-eye and why was what was he doing in Vegas in the first place?”

From the moment I found my seat I noticed that it was extremely cold and thought I would ask for a blanket (apparently, I thought this to be Delta or some sort of REAL airline) once we were in the air so I didn’t cause a scene and then asked the flight attendant if I could have a blanket to which she replied, “Ma’am, we don’t have blankets on the plane.” I was literally so cold I had to come up with a plan. If I could get my feet warm (I was wearing flip-flops because in Vegas it was about 112 degrees) than it would probably help all over. So I took out a few things from a zippered compartment in my backpack on the floor in front of me, took off my flops, and stuck my feet in their (like a pair of slippers). It helped a little.

I started thinking that this is the most diverse bunch of folks I had ever seen in once small space. Now, Vegas did have its diversity I noticed while walking the strip several times (I should have taken pics on that too but thought it might be illegal to post).

Isn’t this just like some of our workplaces? We have the older group of workers that may have disabilities, we have the Rap Stars (who refuse to turn off their music when told to turn off their electric devices – they are constantly pushing the envelope of RULES), we have the worker with extreme halitosis and we are constantly handing them mints or gum, we have those who love to bring their chatty kids to work, and we are constantly having those who think it’s too hot or too cold.

I love hearing my friend Joe Gerstandt talk about diversity because basically he says it’s just being “different.” That’s why we all love (or maybe just me) people watching. Yeah, we all think we’re normal and wonderful, but I couldn’t imagine living and working every day with folks who are just like me. How boring would that be?

In the end, it takes all kinds.