I was following last week’s United story. It occurred to me that one of the problems broadly in the human race, and perhaps America in particular, is the inability to make a sincere apology. Amazingly enough, Sean Spicer might have gotten the best grade of a poor lot.
If I offended anyone, I am sorry it happened.
My facebook suggestion was to put these words in the mouth of the United employee that operated within tight margins before booting his company and CEO into a PR disaster:
Look, y’all. I made a serious blunder here. … I will offer 4 passengers the full bump bonus of $1460, plus a night’s accommodation in a good hotel. Obviously, we will fly you to L’ville tomorrow free. Please think this over and discuss with your traveling companions and help us out on this one. In advance, I thank you for your cooperation and help with correcting my error and helping United.
The problem is deeper than the cultural inability to make an apology. There is no learning from mistakes, as this piece reveals.
One good thing is that nobody was fired. Not yet, anyway. On many levels, firing people for making mistakes is a wrong-headed approach. It actually feeds the errors built in to systems like these. It encourages errors to be hidden, rather than resolved. It discourages people from learning how to correct problems. And even learn from their own mistakes.
Not only does secular society encourage such narrow-mindedness, but the Church is also infected with this sort of no-mercy. Perhaps even more, church systems encourage secrecy, hiding, and releasing any person who does not fit the narrative. It happens from the top and probably into most parishes.
Mistakes are uncomfortable. We are often more troubled by the people who make them. But we are human beings. Errors don’t go away–not in this life. And neither do the people who commit them.