I was pondering this on the flight home from NYC this past weekend and laughed over the stereotype that New Yorkers are “rude.” This has certainly NEVER been my experience.
Over the last couple of years I’ve made about a dozen trips to the city for various reasons. Business and personal. And I’ve never had a single experience with a “rude” New Yorker.
My love for New Yorkers actually dates back YEARS and I’ll tell you a story :)
When I was a teenager, I spent a summer in France as an exchange student. When I was sixteen I participated in an exchange program and this was also going to be my first flight EVER.
These were the days of no cell phones and no computers to check flight statuses or changes online, nor did you receive “alerts” if your flight was changed or canceled. These were also the days of paper tickets you received in ADVANCE and well you showed up at the airport and just HOPED that your flight hadn’t changed or been cancelled.
I was flying out of New Orleans with a group of exchange students all from Louisiana and we had a connection in Charlotte where we’d meet up with MORE exchange students and then we were flying on to JFK where we’d get our Air France flight to Paris.
I lived in central Louisiana and we had family in Baton Rouge so we drove and spent the night with them the night before my early a.m. flight out of New Orleans. Well, when we arrived at the airport we were met by a harried exchange student representative who said they’d tried to call us the evening before to let me know my flight had been changed to a much EARLIER flight, a flight I had now MISSED and they’d also called every single hotel in the New Orleans area, hoping to “find” us, not realizing we’d spent the night in Baton Rouge.
They then told me I had FIVE minutes to catch a flight to Detroit where I could then connect to Laguardia and a representative would meet me there and we’d take a taxi to JFK. My mother was freaking out and of course didn’t want her baby thrown onto a different flight where I’d have NO supervision or anyone else traveling WITH me but what else were we to do?
My luggage obviously wasn’t going to make it on the flight to Detroit but they assured me it would “catch up to me” They then rushed me to the terminal where the plane was already pulling AWAY from the gate. They called it to come BACK for me (that would SO never happen today lol. Once that door closes there is no reopening it!)
So I get on the plane and everyone is staring at me because they had to pull BACK to get me. The stewardess then very apologetically told me that since I was an unplanned passenger that she had nothing to eat for me but offered me a coke instead.
I flew to Detroit not knowing WHAT I was supposed to do. A very nice agent at least got me to the gate with the connection to Laguardia and I sat on the floor for two hours waiting to board.
I was seated in the very front row of coach and still terrified. I was seated next to a woman who looked to be in her 40s and her teenage son. The woman must have sensed my utter terror and noted the fact that I was an unaccompanied minor and so she asked me my name and where I was traveling etc.
Turns out she was a New Yorker and her and her son had been visiting the university of Michigan and were now returning home. When she learned of my circumstances she instantly mothered me and talked to me the entire flight and took me under her wing and promised to stay with me when we landed until we found a representative. How awesome was she? I’ve never forgotten her to this day.
When we landed, she took me in hand and told me everything would be fine and true to her word, she stayed with me until we found a representative from my exchange program. But her kindness didn’t end there. She took my phone number and promised to call my parents and assure them that I’d arrived safely in NYC and had met back up with my exchange group.
When I got home a month later, I wrote her a letter to thank her for her kindness and she wrote me back and we exchanged letters for a couple of years. I”ll never forget her. She took a terrified teenager under her wing and kept me from melting down. And she was a supposed “rude” New Yorker *snort*
In all my trips to NYC since all those years ago, I have never encountered rudeness at all. In fact, I’ve found New Yorkers to be some of the kindest, most generous people in the world. And I’ve traveled a LOT since that first flight when I was a teenager.
This past weekend I took my oldest son to NYC for his birthday because my younger two children had gone with me in the past but this was my oldest’s first visit. He too marveled at how NICE everyone was.
So while the “south” may have a reputation for “southern hospitality” we certainly don’t have the market cornered on nice OR hospitable!
And that’s my shout out to all the lovely New Yorkers I’ve met during my travels and especially to the wonderful woman who took a scared teenage girl under her wing and mothered her :)