As flight 3217 taxied in off the runway I walked along the left wing until it stopped on the appropriate mark for a 717 aircraft. I chocked the wheels and placed the safety delineators (orange cones) around the wingtip and in front of the engine. Ducking under its narrow body I was surprised to see that nobody had opened the front bin yet. Typically when a plane arrives it’s less than a minute before the ramp crew has the bin doors open to begin unloading bags and cargo.
I pressed the handle in, twisted to the right, and pulled.
I set the handle back in place and tried again. Press, twist, and pull.
Still nothing. The bin door didn’t budge.
I looked at the handle in confusion and thought,
“That’s weird. It must be stuck… Maybe that’s why nobody opened it yet. Maybe it’s broken. Does the captain know? Why didn’t the station of origin alert us that there was a problem with the bin door? Maybe it’s mechanical?”
I made eye contact with my nearest team member and with a shrug and the snapping of an imaginary stick between my hands mimed, “I think it’s broken”.
Even from 20 yards away I could see his eyes roll as he raised his hands and mimed,
Yup. Press, twist, and PUSH.
The door was perfectly fine. It was my mindset that was broken.
Because the door didn’t work the way I thought it should, I concluded that it must not work at all.
The best part of this story is that once I easily opened the bin door by pushing, inside was a puppy!! (These are my favorite flights).
As I carried the puppy’s crate into the cargo area I thought about how often we let misunderstandings or a limited perspective keep us from great things – things like puppies. How sometimes when things seem broken, all we need is a little push.
Enjoy the weekend and thanks for reading!
p.s. If you missed ACT 20 you can watch it here