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Vancouver, Washington, United States
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Monday, May 11, 2009

fragen sie doch

It's amazing how we can spare ourselves making the most foolish of mistakes simply by asking! This was made abundantly clear to me on one of my recent oversees journeys.

On November 8, 2007, I was on a German Lufthansa flight from Frankfort Germany to Denver Colorado. As I was making my way through the aisle to find my seat all the way towards the back of the airplane (I walked so much I thought I was already in Denver), a flight attendant was apparently trying to gesture to me wanting to know how she could help. Naturally, I failed to see her gestures, since obviously my reason for her thinking that I wanted her help was the very fact that I couldn't see! It seems as though one of her bemused looks targeted her purser, and it seemed as though she was trying to mouth some words off to him presumably asking him what she should do! He looked at her and exclaimed in a normal, firm and professional tone of voice "fragen sie doch!", which simply means "ask!".

After getting over her shyness and being utterly surprised at me being able to converse with her in German, I safely got to my seat, and the purser himself, a Mr. Oblouvskey, came and introduced himself and asked "what can we do to be of help to you on this flight?" -- a simple yet very powerful question! I explained to him that I did not foresee any need for help during the flight, and that I will be sure to let them know if there was any exception to that on a case by case basis! Needless to say, the flight was one of my most pleasant ones! The statement that stuck with me ever since is "fragen sie doch" -- ask!

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