I was one of thousands of people impacted by airline problems this weekend. United had a computer problem that stranded all kinds of people in the US, and I was in Tokyo where a handful of flights were cancelled by Delta in the poorly organized and poorly communicated fashion we have all come to expect since Delta took over Northwest.
I was frustrated enough to send out some crabby tweets this time and swear off flying Delta - I thought maybe I would just donate all of my miles to charity and call it good. There has to be another airline out there that actually cares about customers, instead of producing videos about how they value their customers while treating them like cattle.
Then came Miss Yamato.
Thinking there must be a way to get to Manila faster than Delta offered I checked available airlines and found some seats on Philippine Airlines. We got to the airport early and asked nicely that Delta fly us out on PAL instead of waiting 12 more hours for the Japan Airlines flight they had lined up. Our request was turned over to special agent Yamato and she made it happen. It would have been easy for her to say it was not possible, but she rose to the challenge and overcame no response from PAL, the distance to the other terminal, and a short timeline. She commandeered a motor coach, marshaled another agent in the office, and even ran through the terminal to get us to the plane on time. It was quite an effort and at one point I realized she had rescued the relationship even if the effort came up short and I had to serve out the entire 24 hour sentence.
In the end she prevailed and my girls and I were so elated we asked Agent Yamoto if she would pose with us in a picture. So thanks to her, I will be back.
The whole episode is a great reminder that a strong finish can really turn around even situations that seem hopeless. So the next time you catch yourself thinking that a client relationship is beyond rescue and not worth the effort of a diving catch, just think about Agent Yamato and how a strong finish is everything.