On my flight, I buried my face in my book until I heard a voice. “Excuse me. May I?” asked the Cathay stewardess, as I handed her my garbage.
Cathay stewardesses are among the friendliest and most helpful stewardesses I’ve ever encountered. Other Asian airlines also do very well. Many of my single male friends favor Cathay over North American because of its attractive stewardesses (so they claim). As a married man, I suspect there’re other factors that cause me to favor these airlines over many of the American-run airlines. The difference is more noticeable when I return to North America in my travels. Many of the North American attendants act like they don’t want to be there (and perhaps, they do not). Some have no desire to do more than the minimum and others don’t even show any appreciation for the customers. So many act like the customer owe them the world.
There’re probably many reasons why many people in North America act the way they do. I suspect the reasons may be more complex than this blog post can indicate. I attribute one factor to such behaviors; we act rudely because of the way we view our “rights.” In North America, everyone is viewed as equals whether s/he works a blue or white collar job. Not so elsewhere. Now, I’m not suggesting that equality is unimportant. It is. With equality however, sometimes our rights overtake our duties. In any customer service sector, the duty is to make sure the customer receive good service. Somewhere along the line of “my rights are important,” we have lost the art of good service. But good service IS the job of a airline stewardess, whatever she thinks her rights are.
What does this observation have to do with our Christian lives? A lot! The Bible speaks often of hospitality as part of the duty of being a believer. Sometimes, hospitality can take over our “rights.” I admit to having a tough time letting those rights go. As part of Christian living, 1 Peter 4.9 teaches that we should show hospitality without complaining. We grumble with a heavy dose of grudge because we often think that we “deserve more rights.” Rights can get in the way of our witness. Hospitality is our “job.” Whatever rights we deserve may not matter when it comes to our faithful witness.