Category Archives: Causes and Friends

Posts regarding causes–mine and those of some friends.

A Different Sort of Vigilance?

johnhain / Pixabay

I hesitate to bring up the recent school shooting in Florida, but a reality exists—this incident seems to have impacted many people, including, I confess me.

In our search for ways to protect our children, we not only have to guard against extremism and hysteria, we have to protect our children (and ourselves) from the emotional damage that often accompanies tragedies and trauma. It is perhaps, a different sort of vigilance, but is just as important.

We may be thousands of miles removed physically from this event but that does not mean we are not hurt and harmed. Children may especially have difficulty realizing and expressing those impacts. Watch for behavior changes. Take news breaks and social media breaks to avoid constant exposure to both your children and yourself.  Look for the helpers and the rainbows and remember to laugh.

I have been adding and expanding resources on my “Brain Leaks” website—look on the resource page for substitute teachers and suicide prevention resources for resources that help address tragedy, trauma, and grief. I have talked with too many students and teachers who are finding themselves struggling to cope with this latest incident. Please keep your eyes and ears open and do not hesitate to “reach out” to anyone who seems to be grappling, stressed or acting differently. I recently dealt with a child who had an unexplained panic attack. I can’t help but wonder about the causes…

If you find yourself having difficulty initiating a conversation, watch this one minute video, “Seize the Awkward Moment.” If you need helping someone–or think you need help yourself, reach out and connect. It’s important.

College Students Note!

The JED Foundation recently announced the fifth year of their Student Advisory Council (SAC) and  desire to connect with a new group of college students to bring their voice and input to their work.

What is the SAC?
JED’s SAC will represent the college students’ perspective and support their work to protect the emotional health and prevent suicide among their peers. The SAC will advise JED with feedback on existing campaigns and programs, engage their campus communities and young adults across the US about emotional health issues through awareness and fundraising events, and assist with new initiatives.

This sounds like a great opportunity for passionate college students who have shown an interest in mental health and promoting community on campus. Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply: jedfoundation.org/student-advisory-council

Applications are due on Monday, January 15, 2018.

cuncon / Pixabay

Press Pause… a great idea and resource!

Here’s one of several great videos recently released…  and this link to a great website called “Press Pause.”  There are more short videos on the topics of dealing with anger and schedule overload.  These are created by “Half of Us.” I’m impressed with both of these sites and their content/approach–easy to navigate, bite-sized chunks of practical support and advice!

Suicide Prevention Workshops

Again this fall, I’m pleased to offer several opportunities for anyone interested in learning some facts about suicide and steps to prevent it.  This workshop also meets the requirements of LD 609 for public school system employees who must have a minimum of 90 minutes of training every five years.

In Guilford:

  • Wednesday, September 20, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.

Both programs are hosted by the Guilford United Methodist Church and there is no charge to attend! Call me at 343-1842 or visit my site for information and to register.

In Newport:

  • Thursday, September 12, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. Contact RSU 19 Adult Ed at 207 368-3290 for more information or to register.

In Pittsfield:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017,  at 6:30 p.m. Contact MSAD 53 Adult Ed at 207 487-5145 for more information or to register.

For those who’ve been wondering…

By way of an update, after several emails I submitted the complaint in its entirety. Following some telephone tag, American Airlines offered an apology and compensation equal to about 25% of our ticket and expenses (over $2,000) due to the delay. They also indicated they were forwarding copies of my correspondence to the “appropriate management personnel.” While I still have my doubts that action will be taken against the offending employee, it’s a moral victory.  Lesson learned: when you are abused, complain–calmly but forcefully.  If possible, hit ’em in the pocketbook. Their hearts and minds may follow.


Several who have heard portions of the story have asked for details and posting here seems like a reasonable approach.  I like to think I’m a reasonable person. Travel is tough–particularly air travel in today’s environment. Mistakes happen, things get messed up. I’m a former “road warrior” and experienced traveler.   It takes a healthy dose of patience and perseverance to travel by air–especially these days. The emergency recent trip Janice and I made served as a great reminder of that. I have summarized a recent experience with the observation that security was not the issue.

Our recent return flights from Louisiana tested my patience for a number of different reasons–including the fact we returned home a day and a half later than scheduled. When I was traveling full-time you learned not only patience but problem-solving skills. Things were tolerable because airline employees were for the most part sympathetic and willing to treat travelers like customers.

Well, that’s changed. In the forty plus years I’ve traveled I met the rudest and most arrogant airline employee ever in Washington D.C.’s Reagan Airport.  Her attitude would be unacceptable and unbelievable if she was a gate agent. I nearly fell over when she informed me she was a supervisor. I tried to write up the encounter only to discover that American Airlines only allows comments with less than 2000 characters. I’m posting the full version for those who are interested in the story. I’m reasonably certain American Airlines won’t be. If I’m wrong, I’ll let you know! (The portions in italics had to be left out of the American Airlines version.)


By way of brief background, we had missed a connection in DFW on Sunday, July 30. Special Services there booked us on AA3590 and AA4693 for Monday, giving us boarding passes with seat assignments and assurance that we were “confirmed.” When we arrived the following morning those boarding passes “didn’t work” and we were issued new ones. The ones from DCA to BGR did not show a seat assignment and the gate agent told us to “get them in DCA.”

Upon arrival in DCA, I attempted to do as instructed. The gate agent said the flight was oversold and asked if we would give up our seats for a $500 voucher each. We explained we needed to get to BGR. He said he was “working on seat assignments.” Knowing the flight was oversold, I checked with him several times while waiting and got the same answer.

When the flight was boarding it became clear we had not been given seats and were being treated as standby passengers. At one point, we were invited to board, only to learn that one seat had been assigned twice. Since we had to travel together, we exited the plane. That was my first encounter with the primary reason for this complaint. I did not know who she was until later when I discovered that in addition to being a supervisor she is the rudest and most arrogant airline employee I have encountered in over forty years of travel. She was standing in the jetway screaming at the woman who took the last seat available, “RUN! You have to run if you want to be on this flight.”

When we returned to the gate desk, the agent was clearly totally lost. He was still trying to find a seat for another passenger! I assured her she was not going to make the flight. I said to the gate agent, “I would like an explanation of how we became standby passengers and how you plan to get us on a flight.”

Your supervisor said, “Sir, we do know what we’re going.” I replied, “Obviously you don’t or we’d be on this flight and you wouldn’t be telling another passenger she might get on.”

The supervisor said, “You need to go to Special Services.” I replied that I would need evidence of my ticket (laying on the desk). She said, “We can’t give you those.” When I asked how I would prove my ticket, she replied she’d meet me there.

At Special Services the agent said I needed both boarding passes. As I approached to the gate, the supervisor yelled at me, “I told you to go to special services and I would meet you there.” I replied that was obviously not true based on where she was standing (and doing nothing). I asked to speak to a supervisor and she told me “I AM the supervisor.” I attempted to see her name tag explaining, “Then I need a manager. What is your name?” She said, “I’ll give you my business card.” When I put my hand out for it, she said, “I’m not giving it to you now, we are trying to close out this flight.”

I reminded her that I am a customer and that in the amount of time she was spending arguing with me she could have given me both. She replied, “You can’t tell me what to do.”

I believe her name is either XXXX or XXXX. Your Special Services Agent quickly resolved the problem without the boarding passes or any assistance from your so-called supervisor. She also assisted me with meeting a manager who was quite gracious, but also insistent that she would “look into it” because “she is one of our best supervisors” and “we spend a lot of money on customer service training.”

Well, I’m a retired organizational consultant with a good crap detector. This is not a training issue—this is an employee with an attitude. I also observed her refusing to help an employee doing a wheelchair assist, sending her to special services. This is a short version since I’m only allowed 2000 characters.


So in the span of a few minutes, we went from being offered $1,000 to give up our seats to being treated like crap.  That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, don’t you think? And–for those who enjoy irony–when I booked our original flights, on one leg there were only “more desirable” seats available so I was charged extra!