Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
"That's not my problem."
Four words no one ever wants to hear coming from someone in customer service.
Yet that's what Matthew Meehan says he was told last week by a Delta Air Lines flight attendant before a flight from Atlanta to Miami.
The problem was a pungent one.
Meehan had sat down in a seat that was garlanded with dog excrement. As, he told WSB-TV, was the floor.
It had been left there by a service animal from the previous flight. Meehan said he was left to clean for himself:
This is all I was given, two paper towels and one of those little bottles of Bombay Sapphire. I was in the bathroom cleaning feces off of the back of my legs, off of my shoes. I was wearing loafers, unfortunately, so the feces was all over my bare ankles.
Wearing loafers is unfortunate. What's even more unfortunate is that Meehan claims the flight attendant didn't believe she bore any responsibility:
She said to me, "Well, that's not my problem." I said, "I'm sorry?" She says, "Well, if the cleaning crew didn't clean your seat, I don't have any control over that."
Well, yes. Except, of course, that the flight attendant represents the company at that very moment. And does she really want to work a flight where passengers are smeared with excrement?
What sort of customer service is it, indeed, to ask a passenger to clean up dog feces?
I asked Delta for its corporate view. A spokeswoman told me:
On November 1, an aircraft operating flight 1949 from Atlanta to Miami was boarded before cleaning was completed, following an incident from a previous flight with an ill service animal. Delta apologizes to customers impacted by the incident and has reached out to make it right, offering a refund and additional compensation.
But what about the flight attendant? Can Delta condone her attitude? The Delta spokeswoman added:
The safety and health of our customers and employees is our top priority, and we are conducting a full investigation while following up with the right teams to prevent this from happening again. Upon landing in Miami, the aircraft was taken out of service to be deep cleaned and disinfected.
Some of the flight attendant's attitude is likely down to airlines' desperate affection for getting planes out on time, no matter what.
Meehan, who says he was made to "feel like an animal," was told as much:
She said, "We're only a couple of minutes away, so you can either sit in your seat or you can not go home," and those were my options.
And I hear that airlines' biggest goal in the near future is to personalize options for every single passenger.
Meehan's options didn't seem too personalized at all.