Although this will seem terribly irrelevant, let me tell you that I speak perfect English. I have no Korean accent. I have a college degree. Two, in fact. I don't mumble. I have no speech impediments. Or hearing deficits. And I'm Korean. Right? So . . .
I took my parents to the airport to take their flight back to Korea. We had a bit of the ol' run around at check-in. Bear with me, I'll try to make this part brief. We were lead from one line to another to another in the space fo 45 minutes, and finally ended up at what we thought was check-in, with an agent behind the counter. We stand there, waiting, a bit anxious. It slowly dawns on us that this is one of those self-check-in kiosks, which we didn't want. But there we were, so we read the long instructions on each screen, scanned in their passports - and then waited to check thebags. The guy behind the counter, it turns out, is not an agent but a bag handler. He says "did you get a slip of paper?" I said no, so he says to try again. When I try again, the monitor says "TOO LATE TO CHECK-IN." So I tell this baggage guy and he tells me we have to go to the end of the line!!!! OK, the irony is not lost on you, I hope. It is too late to check-in, but we have to go to the end of the line...the one we were just in for 45 minutes!
I am, like, "Are you kidding me?!" So I leave my parents there and go find an agent and explain to her that SHE had directed us to this check-in, an automatic kiosk, and now we have to wait in line again? Is this right? And she says it is!! Totally befuddled and flabbergasted, I go back to where my parents are. What else am I to do? I have to give this agent some points because she came to find us. I try to explain the scenario again, thinking, "this can't be right, there must be someother option." She then says . . OK . . . drumroll . . .
"I can't help you with the kiosks. It comes up with all this Chinese and I don't know what it's saying!"
HUH?!?! Excuuuse me??? [Picture like a a cartoon dog or something, shaking his head and going "blahblah blah blah blah!"] OK, am I in OUTER SPACE? Chinese?! Who said anything about Chinese? I am speaking PERFECT ENGLISH TO HER! At a loss for words, I say, "I'm not Chinese. I don't speak Chinese. You never helped me with the kiosk!" This goes on a couple of times, but frankly, I don't know how long. Have you ever been in a traumatic situation and time goes r-e-a-l - s-l-o-w? That's how it was for me - dream-like.
To add insult to injury, she then says, "I'm sorry if I offended you - it was SOME Asian language!" She thinks this is a policitical correctness issue, with all of its pejorative innuendos. She thinks this is my issue, that somehow I am oversensitive and I might sue. No, lady! This is about imcompetence! ["Some Asian language?!" That's like saying "Oh, it was English or Russian, or some western language!"]
It finally, slowly, dawns on me that this is a case of mistaken identity. She must have helped another Asian woman, because, you know, WE ALL LOOK ALIKE! I tell her, "You never helped me with the kiosk. You must be confusing me with someone else." [By the way, Asians think all Caucasians look alike! tee hee] For some unknown reason, it is only then, that she tells us to go to a separate Special Services line, which only has one person in it! Two minutes before, we had to go to the end of the regular line, but somehow, miraculously, we can now be second in a "special" line??
United, which is a MAJOR international carrier, has an agent that:
1] is totally racially ignorant
2] doesn't know how to use the kiosk
3] and as an aside, has a stupid check-in system
And THAT, is the end of this Ugly Story. For now. Until the next time.