NEW YORK, NY – A baggage handler at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport surprised his colleagues after he took a different approach to loading luggage onto his most recent plane.
32-year-old Kyle Stigler has worked for Delta Airlines for about 12 years – the entirety of which has been spent as a baggage handler. When asked, he would readily admit that the job has gotten a little tiresome and that his once-positive attitude has turned a bit jaded.
Like many baggage handlers, the monotonous routine of lobbing overstuffed suitcases onto a conveyor belt wears on you and like nearly all baggage handlers you become desensitized to any semblance of caution when loading bags onto planes.
On most days, Stigler would crack three, maybe four suitcases that would accidentally miss the conveyor belt and fall to the ground. Anything in a box was guaranteed to get crushed by a heavy suitcase placed on it, and anything marked fragile was placed precariously on the luggage carts so it might fall off in transit.
Stigler, however, really shocked his colleagues when during a recent shift last Thursday he chose to load a flight headed for Atlanta which extreme care. Gently lofting each bag into his arms, and thoughtfully setting it on to the belt, Stigler was in the zone. Passengers inside the waiting plane took videos and pictures, and commented to each other how much thought and care he took to position the suitcase on the belt so it wouldn’t fall off.
Stigler even stopped to write a note on one bag, expressing his gratitude for the customer’s business with Delta.
Stigler’s supervisor even remarked, “I’ve never seen anything like it. He was in the zone. It was like Mr. Rogers out there. It was if each bag was his infant child, thoughtfully laid into a bassinet.”
The passenger’s joy quickly turned to irritation, then anger, when the loading process took an extra 31 minutes because of Stigler’s unique approach, and the flight was delayed. Soon the passengers peering through the windows were flipping Zigler off and even the pilot came down to help load the last few bags in an attempt to get back on track.
Stigler returned to his old form on the next flight however and managed to set a new record for damaged suitcases (9) for which he won the vaunted BHBS award, or Baggage Handler Breaks Suitcase award.