By Nataly Kogan

How gratitude saved my keynote

Tags Gratitude

Last week I delivered one of my favorite keynotes, as part of the Women of Impact Global Conference event at Cisco, in honor of International Women's Day.

But it almost didn’t happen.

On the morning of my flight to San Francisco, we got 14 inches of snow in Boston. My flight was delayed by a few hours, then a few more, and then to so late in the evening that I would risk missing my keynote the next morning. 

Trying not to panic (trying is the key word here), I checked other airlines and possible flights and connections – everything was sold out or delayed.

I called JetBlue customer service, hoping for a miracle.

The customer service agent who picked up my call sounded so kind and encouraging as we began to talk and I explained my situation to her. 

So I told her that I was really grateful for her kindness during what was surely a stressful day, with thousands of passengers delayed and likely calling, like I was.

She seemed surprised to hear my thanks: “Wow, thank you, I don’t often hear that when someone is delayed and stressed out,” she said.

“I’m going to do everything I can to help you,” she told me, sounding determined.

She checked all possible ways to get me to the West Coast and as luck would have it, the flight to San Jose was still on time. The plane got here right after the snow had ended, while my plane for San Francisco was still stuck on the West Coast.

My JetBlue helper had to jump through some hoops to get me on that flight, but she was adamant that she would make it work, including going to talk to her supervisor to help.

Before we got off the call, she had found me on Instagram and as I settled into my middle seat on the flight to San Jose a few hours later, I got a direct message from her:

“I’ve been tracking your flight,” she told me, “I hope you make it there and get some rest!”

I’ve never been so grateful to be in a middle seat on a 6.5-hour flight before -- and not only because I was relieved not to be missing my keynote. 

The kindness and care of the JetBlue customer service agent touched me deeply and I felt like I had a little guardian angel making sure I would get to my keynote on time.

Lead with gratitude and kindness, even when life throws you into a storm.

Because when you do, you’ll create a genuine human connection with anyone you encounter, and while they might not always be able to help, you’ll feel like you’re not alone in the storm.

And that is an amazing gift.

Next up: What if you don’t want to count your blessings when you’re having a bad day?

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