Friday, October 7, 2016

NYC Weekend - Our Last Day

We had one more morning left in New York City before we would have to head over to the airport to fly home in the afternoon. (Kai had school off on Monday due to Rosh Hashanah).

It had been unseasonably cool all weekend but on this last morning the temperatures were slightly warmer.

And that turned out to be a bad thing.

It was just over a half mile walk from our hotel to the Empire State Building, nothing compared to the 7-8 miles we had walked on each of the previous two days. But as we got near the NY landmark, Kai started complaining incessantly about being hot and tired.

With no line on a Monday morning, we were able to walk right in and get right on the first elevator. There are three observation levels, with the first on the 80th floor. Although it seemed air conditioned up there, Kai continued to loudly complain saying he could not breathe. We told him that he should sit down to cool off, both physically and emotionally.

But he could not sit quietly. He tried to lie down on a bench and we told him that he would need to sit up. All the while he continued to be upset. (Note to the United representative who told me to quiet my son on Friday: What you saw on Friday was a mild level of anxiety that emerged after hours of poor treatment by your airline. This is what he can be like when he is really upset).

We were all tired after our long weekend. I wasn't particularly patient or helpful in getting Kai to calm down. I was more upset that our visit here was spoiled because Kai couldn't tolerate a little discomfort.

As we waited in line for the elevator to take us up to the next level, a worker saw that we were all upset with each other and came over and spoke with Kai. She asked him what was wrong gave him a hug and then rode up the elevator with us. Kai started to cry, saying he was sorry for being so upset. Renata told him that he wasn't in trouble with her and he wasn't in trouble with us.

When we reached the 86th floor, she told him that she would give him a special tour without Mom and Dad.

She seemed to be an old pro at dealing with kids who are upset. And with parents,too. She gave us all the space we needed to calm down.

Her stepping in to help when it was not her job to do so was a very sharp contrast to the extremely poor service we experienced earlier on the trip.

After that, she went back down to her post while we went up to the top level, the observation deck on the 102nd floor. The skies were not as clear as we ideally would have liked. This is probably the best photo, looking south toward lower Manhattan, the area we walked on our first day.

We didn't take many family photos here as this was not a pleasant experience.

But as we walked out of the building, Kai remarked that he never calmed down so quickly before. Thank you, Renata!

By the time we finished up at the Empire State Building, it was late morning. We didn't want to get to the airport too late as we didn't have confidence that United would handle our return trip correctly.

But we had just enough time to take a taxi to Chelsea Market. That was the place we were to have dinner on Friday night, but we had to cancel our dinner reservations when our flight was cancelled. On this day, we quickly walked through the Market and chose a seafood market to take out lunch to have at the airport. My wife and I had lobster rolls while Kai chose a bowl of clam chowder. In our rush, I forgot to take pictures.

At the airport, we were relieved that United did still have us booked on our return flight, and that it was not cancelled or delayed.

We made it back without any unpleasant experiences.

It had been a long, tiring weekend. After other vacations, I always feel tired but happy that we went. This time I just came back feeling very drained, and wondered if it had been worth it. Now that it has been a few days, I can look back and see that we did have some good times.

But forgive me if I'm not ready to take another trip any time soon.


  1. Wow, what a gem of a lady! She was not only a true pro, her actions were the mark of a person who loved what she did for a living.

    I know what I am going to do in the future, especially with power drunk people in positions of temporary authority, such as airline personnel. I am going to surreptitiously record their actions, and their FULL communication, as demonstrated by their body language and it on YouTube...and then send the link of the public video to as high up as I could. I have been in situations where the very first line of defense from supervisors is..."What did they say?...I don't want to hear what you may or may not have correctly interpreted as they had meant by anything else." Of course, most communication is non verbal. What should always be asked is not only what they had said, but what they had done. With video, all is directly evidenced, and all without second hand interpretation. The mistake people make when recording is to let others know they are recording. Just as with so many politicians, the biggest tyrants are the ones who get unearned power over others...and no more power is exercised so absolutely over them as when people are put into situations of perceived helplessness or right to self defense. The airlines are very bad with this. The workers know that they have you over a barrel while you are there. Especially while on an airplane, they are protected by Federal laws. So many air hostesses see themselves as untouchable, and so, become extremely, and unjustifiably, rude. When people become unaccountable to others in effect, they become gods in their own minds...untouchable, and so, able to maltreat others at will.

    Wow, sorry, I carried on too long on that topic!

    I do feel for you. I know the pangs of disappointment and frustration. I also know that I would not have handled it so well as had you.

    I also feel for Kai. I know how he feels. When I was young, I was overly sensitive to my environment. I would be especially sensitive to heat (and strangely enough, not to cold) to light pressure on my skin (and again, strangely enough, not to high pressure) crowds and noise...etc. Even nowadays, I have to avoid certain situations for fear that I will not behave appropriately. My frustrations will sometimes get the better of me...unless I am pre-exhausted through heavy exercise.

    Anyway, if you don't feel like recording future incidents, at least write down all dates, times, names, places...and any other pertinent pieces of information, and send an email as far up their chain of command as possible.
    An email is far better than an actual letter, as both, the sent message, and the replies, are automatically recorded. The only times my complaints have been taken seriously, and results quickly seen, was when I blame the supervisors. I tell them that their workers blatant lack of respect to customers is really, either a lack of respect for the supervisors, or a lack of fear that they could be disciplined for not following their policies and procedures. Either way, it is not the employees fault, but the supervisors' fault. Action then shortly follows. Amazing...isn't it. :).

    1. Hi Shiroi, I emailed the CEO of United yesterday and today I got a message from Customer Care that a member of their Executive Services team will review the details of my email and be in contact within 72 business hours. Let's see what results.

      Regarding Kai, I have to be more understanding when he reacts like this because of his environment. I have to do better at putting aside my frustrations and being able to focus on helping him calm down. It can be hard to relate to his sensitivities, but we still have to understand that it's not just him behaving poorly.


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