In 1996 the U.S. hosted the Summer Olympics. I’ll never forget reading about Wade Miller, a Santa Fe, New Mexico, resident, who tried to buy tickets to the volleyball match from the Summer Olympics ticket office in Atlanta. When the agent found out he lived in New Mexico, she refused to sell him a ticket. […]
In 1996 the U.S. hosted the Summer Olympics. I’ll never forget reading about Wade Miller, a Santa Fe, New Mexico, resident, who tried to buy tickets to the volleyball match from the Summer Olympics ticket office in Atlanta. When the agent found out he lived in New Mexico, she refused to sell him a ticket. She claimed she couldn’t sell tickets to anyone outside the United States. He appealed to the agent’s supervisor, who also believed that New Mexico was not part of the United States, even though New Mexico became the 47th state in 1912.
There is a happy ending to the story. Miller eventually bought tickets, and Scott Anderson, managing director of the games, promised it wouldn’t happen again. He said, “Obviously, we made a mistake, and we want to apologize to everybody out in New Mexico. The good news is that of all the mistakes we could make, this one is at least easily fixable.”
And there is a similar story that happened just a few weeks ago. A Puerto Rican family traveling from the United States to Puerto Rico was denied boarding a plane because their infant child did not have a U.S. passport. Despite the family pleading their case, the most the agent offered to do was refund the ticket or reschedule them to a later flight after they could acquire a passport for their child. The family eventually walked over to the JetBlue ticket counter, where they were told what they already knew: passports are not required to travel between the U.S. mainland and U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico.
There are more lessons and examples like these. I wanted to share these two for two reasons. One, they are entertaining examples that not only make you smile but also make you think. And two, it proves a point that I often make: common sense isn’t always so common!
Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at www.Hyken.com. Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.
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