At 17, Andrew, a spoiled and privileged individual accustomed to having his way, frequently displayed a lack of respect towards others. Witnessing his son mock a flight attendant, Andrew’s father decided it was high time for Andrew to understand the importance of treating people with respect.
“Can you move it faster?” Andrew impatiently complained while navigating around an older man assisted by a younger flight attendant. Despite the man’s difficulty walking, Andrew thoughtlessly made fun of him and hurried to his seat.
As the plane took off, Andrew, a seasoned flyer since childhood, opened the window shade out of boredom after completing his first semester at boarding school. Later, when he rose to retrieve his tablet, he forgot to take his bag down from the overhead shelf.
The flight attendant who had assisted the previous passenger earlier in the trip approached him, remarking, “Your bag is bursting out of sight. It seems you didn’t properly close the overhead bin, sir…”
Instead of taking action, you should actually do it,” Andrew retorted in a caustic manner when advised to address a task. The hostess maintained her composure, closing the trash can and stepping away, despite Andrew’s impolite response. In a foul mood, Andrew, still dissatisfied, started eating peanuts but spat them out in disgust. Disrespectfully, he called for the attendant.
“These peanuts have a terrible flavor!” he yelled, hurling the sack at her. “Get me something more appetizing than these nuts!”
The attendant, visibly upset but polite, responded, “Sir, please calm down and don’t throw things at me.” Undeterred, Andrew insisted, “I’ll do what I like! I am here to serve you,” she calmly replied. “You should not give me some crappy garbage like these peanuts; instead, you should go and get me something pleasant to eat. Take off now!”
Passengers watching nearby couldn’t believe Andrew’s behavior towards the patient stewardess.
It was Andrew’s immediate co-passenger, the elderly man whom he had mocked earlier, who intervened in his impolite behavior towards the flight attendant.
“Young man, don’t talk to her like that,” the experienced individual admonished. “Just because it is her job to serve us does not mean you have the right to treat her with disdain. It is her responsibility to perform her duties, and she’s doing a good job at it. I would appreciate it if you could be more considerate and refrain from yelling at her.”
“Why should I be kind to someone who can’t do her job?” Andrew snapped his fingers at the stewardess. “Make haste with my snack, please! It would be rude of you to just stand here and look at me like a statue.”
Maintaining her composure, the attendant walked away with teary eyes. The experienced man observed, “Your parents must be so disappointed in you,” as he returned to his magazine.
“Mind your own business, old man!” Andrew dismissed him. “I paid for this flight; I deserve good service.”
Unimpressed by the pretzels the attendant brought back, Andrew slapped the tray against the wall. “I want something better!” The attendant, with tears in her eyes, explained, “That’s all we have, sir.”
Another passenger, a woman, noticed Andrew’s harsh comments and approached him. “You have no right to speak to her in such a manner. Exhibit some self-respect!”
“If she did her job well, I wouldn’t be complaining!” Andrew argued, dismissing the flight attendant as a terrible servant. His violent comments, echoing throughout the plane, caused the attendant to break down in tears, frightening the passengers with his lack of empathy.
Receiving disapproving glares from fellow passengers, Andrew faced criticism for his obnoxious and impolite behavior. A man in a nice suit chimed in, expressing agreement and pointing out Andrew’s lack of courtesy and respect.
Andrew was shocked when he realized the voice condemning him belonged to his own father, Steven. A cold surge of realization hit Steven as he berated his son for causing a commotion on the flight.
Forced to board a last-minute cheap trip back to New York due to a booking delay, Steven confronted Andrew about his disrespectful behavior. He instructed his son to apologize to the flight attendant and warned of teaching him proper etiquette.
Following their journey, Andrew approached the impending consequences with trepidation as he entered their luxury home with Steven. In a stern confrontation in Steven’s study, Andrew argued that the flight attendant’s performance wasn’t significant, but Steven insisted on a change in behavior.
Steven emphasized that wealth didn’t justify mistreating others, declaring Andrew needed a dose of realism. As a consequence, Andrew was banned from returning to boarding school and mandated to attend public school while working for Steven’s cleaning services firm as a caretaker, facing a new reality outside his privileged bubble.
“A garbage man? Absolutely not, Dad. I can’t imagine doing that!” Andrew vehemently expressed his opposition.
“You’re incapable of making a decision. Everything you own, from your bank cards, laptop, car, phone, to your branded clothing, will be taken away. You will earn your living wearing simple clothes,” Steven declared firmly, leaving no room for negotiation.
“I should have invested time in teaching you manners instead of just accumulating wealth after your mother passed away,” Steven continued. “It’s time for you to understand the challenges of life in this world. It’s now or never. You must stop looking down on others and learn to appreciate them.”
“But Dad, why a caretaker?” Andrew, troubled, worried about the mockery he might face from his friends.
“Andrew, this is the consequence of your actions. You need to learn respect,” Steven asserted. “And if you quit the job, you’ll lose all privileges!”
Feeling defeated, Andrew reluctantly started working at the airport the next day, grappling with the shame of being a caretaker for his father’s cleaning firm. Basic tasks proved challenging, and he fumbled even with a mop.
“What an idiot! This is not the proper way to hold a mopstick,” his supervisor, an elderly woman, thought to herself.
“Stop laughing!” Andrew snapped. “I’m not used to this. And do your job, or I’ll get you fired!”
The woman retorted, “You won’t. I know your father. He wants me to set you straight. Now, get to work! These floorboards won’t mop themselves!”
With a sigh, Andrew began clumsily and leisurely mopping.
“Even sloths come in second place. Please quicken your pace; there’s a lot of work to be done!” the woman commanded.
As Andrew tirelessly swept and mopped the lounge, a constant stream of muttered curses escaped his lips. The strain of lifting heavy buckets of water took a toll on his exhausted body, and his aching hip made each movement painful. The watchful eye of the elderly woman supervisor left him with no opportunity to rest.
While cleaning up trash in the food court, someone passing by callously struck Andrew with an empty plastic bottle. “Dude, watch it! Are you brave enough to throw that at me?” Andrew shouted, but the headphone-wearing man ignored him and walked away. Andrew pursued, demanding an explanation, only to be slammed to the ground and derogatorily labeled a “filthy caretaker.” Seeking answers, Andrew faced further reprimands for neglecting to place a caution sign on the wet floor, leaving him surrounded by laughing onlookers. Apologizing, he pledged to rectify his mistake.
Just as Andrew thought he could finally rest, a woman with a young child ordered him to clean up her grandson’s vomit. “Hey, caretaker, come here!” she yelled. Disgusted, Andrew resisted, declaring, “I can’t touch that… Eeew! Absolutely not!” But the woman insisted, threatening to report him if he refused.
Feeling trapped, Andrew reluctantly donned gloves and cleaned up the vomit, his disgust evident. The day continued in a similar fashion, with his assistant adding more tasks whenever Andrew attempted to take a break. Despite pleading for rest and emphasizing his humanity, Andrew was compelled to continue working.
Exhausted, he dragged trash cans outside and rapidly cleaned living spaces. Climbing stairs for escalator duties left him lightheaded. Desperate for a quiet break, Andrew sat down, only to be kicked in the back by an irate woman who accused him of sleeping on the job.
Andrew defended himself, but the woman threatened termination. In that moment, he realized that this was the painful lesson his father had been trying to teach him. Tears welled up as he understood the anguish of being mistreated by those who deemed themselves superior.
Crying into his palms, Andrew noticed a woman’s silhouette in the distance. Recognizing her, he stood up and chased after her, calling out, “Hey, wait a minute!”
Surprised, the woman turned around to see Andrew panting and puffing in his cleaner’s outfit. Astonished, she questioned his presence, and Andrew sincerely apologized for mocking her on the plane. He acknowledged his cruelty and vowed never to be impolite again, seeking forgiveness.
The stewardess, taken aback by Andrew’s sincere apology, expressed her surprise. Andrew, without divulging further information, grinned and vanished from her sight, determined to complete the day’s outstanding tasks.