My cousin Cliff asked me to tell him what the post below is all about, since he doesn’t speak German. Here it goes:
This is a wonderful little story that happened to me day before yesterday. I had to speak in Frankfurt and was set to catch a plane back to Salzburg at 9 am, but due to torrential rainfall lots of flights were cancelled, and the flight was completely overbooked. Over loudspeaker they were looking for travelers willing to give up their seats for €250 a pop.
In the end, only two of us were left standing, me and a distinguished-looking gentleman who was very worried because he had an important date of some kind he didn’t want to miss.
It turned out, however, that there was only one more seat, and I was the lucky guy who got it. But fact was, I actually had to travel on to Stuttgart the same day, and Gabi was waiting for me at Salzburg airport with the car. That’s when I had this bright idea. I asked the stewardess if she would mind rebooking me to Stuttgart, which she was more than happy to do. And the guy next to me got the last seat to Salzburg.
Naturally, he was very happy, and we exchanged cards. That was when I discovered he was the head of the Salzburg University Hospital, and that he was on his way to a meeting of the Salzburg Medical Society, where he was supposed to be elected their honorary chairman.
When he was gone the Lufthansa lady issued me a new ticket and also handed me €150 as compensation. I never really understood what they were compensating me for, since I was getting what I really wanted all along, but there you are. While I was waiting for my flight I even had time to write a few lines about the story on Facebook.
Next day I was having lunch with Gabi in Stuttgart when I got a call from the largest Austrian tabloid newspaper, „Kronenzeitung.“ They had read my Facebook post and wanted to interview me. When I got home the next day, friends here in Lungau greeted me saying: „You’re in the paper – you’re famous!“
The reporter had contacted Prof. Winkler (that’s the guy’s name) and written a four-column article headlined „Plane Ticket Saves Doctor’s Election“. Turns out he finally got there on time and received 100% of the vote. And I am quoted as saying: „Doing a good deed actually gets rewarded sometimes for a change“. Or words to that effect.
This shows me just how closely linked old-fashioned journalism and Social Media have become. Sadly, not many of my journalist colleagues in Germany realize this yet. Anyway, the little episode yielded a nice little „human-interest“ story both online and off.