*Well if the worst thing this monk had to say to the United Airlines customer service rep that made him lose his cool is, “You have not been helpful,” it’s doubtful his pass to the great beyond has expired. But anytime you piss off a monk – someone who belongs to a group of people who have mastered the art of serenity and peace – well, that’s pretty awful on your part.
But nevertheless, the customer service department at United Airlines takes the cake on this one.
According to the New York Times, Brother Noah of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in New Mexico says he was unable to remain serene when he dealt with United Airlines on the phone.
“I said to her something like: ‘Thank you for speaking. God bless you. I will pray for you. But you have not been helpful.’”
And if you agree with David Segal, author of “The Haggler” column, and this writer, who feels what he had to say wasn’t so bad, Brother Noah adds that he knows the tone of his voice “manifested anger.”
So what was it exactly that got this monk so mad?
It all started late last November when Brother John Baptist, a friend of Brother Noah’s at the monastery, flew to Malawi in southeastern Africa to see his sick mother on a $2,489 round-trip ticket that was paid for by the monastery.
But Brother John Baptist ended up having to extend his trip several weeks, so that’s when Brother Noah stepped in to assist by calling United Airlines on Dec. 10 to reschedule the return flight.
But United claimed that the original purchase was fraudulent. It didn’t matter that his friend had already used the first leg of the trip.
To add insult to injury, the representative reportedly suggested that the monastery’s leader should drive what amounted to a three hour trip to a United desk in Albuquerque to work everything out.
When he was connected with a supervisor, identified as Mark, Brother Noah says the issue was not sorted out.
“Everything became our fault. There was no evidence that Brother John Baptist had been placed on a new return flight,” Brother Noah told the Times. “No record of the conversation with Mark. I really struggled to remain calm and charitable. My monastic life is about staying peaceful in all circumstances. I failed during this call.”
But even a monastery knows how to put someone on blast. So they posted an open letter on the monastery’s website detailing the experience and asking for help.
“Blessings to you! Christ in the Desert is having some difficulties with United Airlines. Perhaps someone reading this will know a way to help,” the letter begins.
The end result eventually led to a return flight, an apology, and $350 credit toward future travels.
Sometimes it pays to lose your cool just a bit, Brother Noah!