The reason for the ordeal was that his first flight out of Okinawa was delayed because of a medical emergency. Some poor lady was having a heart attack before the plane even left the ground. Being the good Samaritan that he is, Stevie and one other doc from the Naval Hospital who also happened to be on the plane attended to the woman while the ambulance was called and the paramedics could take over.
Now ANA (All Nippon Airlines) had already paid for a hotel room in Tokyo for Stevie (and my mom who was traveling with him, although, in fairness, only after Stevie "convinced" them to) and they offered him an upgrade to business class for only $80 when he got to the gate. Apparently they knew exactly who he was even though it was the next day and a different flight from the original - "Ahhh, Dr. Coats, we know about you."
Who would have expected anything more?
But this is Japan, and in Japan apologizing and expressing gratitude is a fine art which seems to permeate all aspects of its culture. Including airlines.
Why do I say this? Because today I picked up the mail and found a notice for a certified letter. The letter was from ANA addressed to Mr. Stephend Coats. Inside? A letter thanking him for his generous service during the doomed flight and a gift - a thank you - five 1,000 Yen gift cards! Have you ever, EVER heard of an airline sending a passenger a thank you gift? Dang, I'm going to miss this country when we leave.
It reads, "We would like to express our sincere gratitude for you assistance on (flight). All of our flight crew members were very grateful for the help you had offered when one of our customers had fallen ill. We thank you for your willing generosity once again, and look forward to serving you on our flight again in the near future."
The gift envelope so nicely packaged...
About $60 worth of gift cards!