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But I disagree.
As many in the media have noted, employees often put up with customers that are rude and or treat them like servants. Just as often we hear about employees that ignore customers and are rude right back.
JetBlue customers have paid a lot for their ticket. It needs to fill those planes every day to maintain its airplanes, pay its staff, buy jet fuel, and safely deliver paying customers to their desired destination. Mr. Slater has been a flight attendant long enough to see it all. If he's not able to keep it inside until he's on his own, he should take a personal day and go pound sand somewhere.
In the meantime, turn the other cheek, smile, and do your job.
Slater has thrown away a long career as a great flight attendant (I've had him on JetBlue flights that I've taken) and is looking at a little jail time and a fine. How do you add that to a resume? Not many employers look to hire someone who has demonstrated that he cannot handle pressure. When things turn ugly, and it will, Slater explodes.
In my business, we've had plenty of situations where the customer was "wrong", like the guy that blew up when we couldn't find his address (turns out he didn't know it either.) But we figured it out, apologized, and gave him a pizza for free. Now we get his return business all the time. One of the lessons I teach my employees is that you cannot treat ninety-nine percent of your customers like they are jerks just because one percent of them are.
And even the jerks are customers.
Dave Melton is a Domino's Pizza Franchisee in New York City, and the author of Hire the American Dream, How to Build Your Minimum-Wage Workforce Into a High-Performance Customer Focused Team