After my Air France flight to Paris was canceled, I found myself in a foul mood. But stopping for a moment to reflect upon how privileged I was to be able to travel to Paris at all or even stay at an airport hotel helped put the matter in perspective and convict me of my error. To me, the Sheraton Gateway LAX will now always be known as the Sheraton Privilege Hotel.
Privilege Rears Its Ugly Head At The Sheraton Gateway LAX
I am not proud of this self-reflection, but I share it with you because I think it is an important tool for holding me accountable. One very important thing I want to teach my kids is not to be entitled. The entitlement culture is a huge problem in the West and it is something most of us, if we are being honest, struggle with from time to time.
When life gives you lemons, you can pout or you can make lemonade. Instead of looking on the bright side of our Air France cancellation (a chance to enjoy a staycation with all meals paid for and earn €2,400 for the trouble), I was upset. Not so much at our flight predicament, but at the Sheraton Gateway LAX itself.
We had to wait for our baggage to be returned to us and just missed a shuttle to the hotel, which run far less frequently than the Hyatt Regency. With so many bags, it made no sense for us to trudge to LAXit to catch an Uber, especially when the hotel was just a few blocks down Century Boulevard.
The shuttle driver finally showed up. He did not even bother to get out of his seat to help with the bags, probably because most cheapskates don’t tip him. My wife and I were left trying to get the kids into the bus then seven bags.
We sat in horrid evening traffic going around the horseshoe at LAX and to the hotel. Like a parking lot, it took 20 minutes to get to the hotel…less than a mile away.
The hotel was…well, not to my taste. It was crowded and a bit rundown.
I had to (gasp) wait in a line to check-in. The hotel issued 12 meal vouchers instead of just saying charge it to the room…it took the lady several minutes to fill out all the cards.
There was a huge line waiting for an elevator.
We returned downstairs for dinner and I thought the food was disgusting. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t but my attitude was certainly disgusting. Then I became even more upset that the meal vouchers did not include gratuity. You mean I had to tip these people for their lousy service when I’m here only because Air France messed up my travel plans?
And all of this made me upset. Thoughts of self-pity danced through my head.
Yes, I was actually feeling sorry for myself that I got to spend the night at a four-star hotel and not even have to open my wallet for meals beyond gratuities. Even if all of my gripes were somewhat reasonable (I’m not saying they were), my attitude certainly was not.
Heidi reminded that it would all be okay and that helped. I realized that even if I held my anger inside, the kids could sense it. That’s not what I want them to sense. I repented. I was in the wrong.
And then I felt better. We went back up to our rooms (we were given adjoining rooms so Heidi and I had our own room) and I read to the kids. We sung, we prayed, then I tucked them in, as I do every night. It was a good night.
But I had to check my privilege at the door of the Sheraton. Hopefully, I remember to do that earlier next time.
To much is given, much is required. It’s time for me to shut up and be thankful.