Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Some things are, though, universal, aren’t they?
That must be what the bosses at Virgin Australia thought when they offered veterans priority boarding.
But Australia isn’t necessarily like, say, America.
Frankly, nowhere is.
When you’ve lived in different countries on different continents — guilty as charged — you garner a wider perspective on how people think and, just as importantly, the nuances that go into their feeling processes.
So, instead of a gloriously positive reaction, some veterans rather thought Virgin should take its offer and shove it back in the cargo hold it was stored in.
Oh, and “faux American bollocks.”
Instead, she suggested: “Spend more on suicide prevention and health support.”
Neil James, the head of the Australian Defence Association also suggested there were better ways to help.
“There’s a fine line between embarrassing them and thanking them and, in some cases, where they’re suffering a psychological illness, effusively thanking them in public might not necessarily help them,” he said of veterans.
On Twitter, many piped up with similar feeling.
Sample, from John H. Esq.: “Jeez! Do veterans really want this type of peurile [sic] Americanised faux recognition of their service?”
The airline seemed so stunned by the reaction that its CEO John Borghetti issued this statement:
Over the coming months, we will be working consultatively with community groups and our own team members who have served in defense to determine the best way forward.
In America, there’s considerable — and, some might say, superficial — support for veterans.
Indeed, our nation has many curious, vaguely militaristic and nationalistic habits that other nations find curious. Flag unfurlings and national anthem renditions before every single sporting event, for example.
In Australia, though, perhaps veterans want tangible benefits, rather than being used for marketing purposes.
Interestingly, one of Virgin’s rival airlines, Qantas says it has no intention of offering veterans priority boarding.
It offered this statement:
We carry a lot of exceptional people every day, including veterans, police, paramedics, nurses, firefighters and others, and so we find it difficult to single out a particular group as part of the boarding process.
Doesn’t that seem wise?