Flight attendant learns to love despite air rage

FOUR YEARS INTO MY CAREER as a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines, Inc., I suddenly found it difficult to go to work. The public, as I perceived it, was becoming increasingly difficult—impatient, unkind, belligerent even. Instead of simply suiting up in my uniform for work, I felt as if I had to put on "mental armor," to protect myself from the angryfaces I saw in every aisle. I was increasingly apprehensive before a workday and became more and more reclusive in my private life—wanting to stay tucked away from a public I perceived as a threat.

I even privately cursed my upbringing once. Because I had been raised to be thoughtful of others, I felt I wasn't equipped to live in a world where there seemed to be such a lack of civility. Even my sincerest efforts to be kind and helpful seemed to be met with outright scorn and disdain. I couldn't make sense of it and grew weary of making such an effort when it just seemed to lead to my kindness being interpreted as weakness.

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