Sorry, not sorry ― Aaron Donchin

FEBRUARY 25 ― Recently my wife and I were taking an AirAsia flight to Bali from KLIA2. The trip was great but it started off terribly as our flight was delayed from 10pm to 4am. 

To AirAsia’s credit, they sent me a text and an email telling me the flight was delayed. To their fault, the text came only two hours before my flight was to take off (right as my wife and I were arriving at KLIA 2) and it contained no apology or explanation as to why my flight was delayed to the next day. 

Who at that company thought that that was a good way to deal with customers? We had just arrived at the airport and we discussed the matter with the staff and yet they didn’t seem interested in giving us any kind of explanation.

Eventually, one of the managers came out, flanked by security guards, to talk to the numerous unhappy customers about the delays. It wasn’t until he found himself surrounded by frustrated guests that he finally blurted out that the delay was due to weather. What was so difficult about telling his subordinates the problem and instructing them to apologise for the delays? Don’t they realise that that would eliminate the need for him to even come out and talk to customers? 

I get that admitting to fault can be a real kick in the ego, but have you ever stopped to think that you could better resolve your conflicts if you could only swallow your pride every once in awhile? But let's be honest, there are many reasons why people don't want to admit fault or apologise for a mistake.

I spent four months interning as a mediator in a small claims court near Boston, MA a few years ago, and this is what I observed:

People see apologising as giving their “opponents” ammo that could be used to “better them sometime down the road. People are sometimes afraid to apologise because by apologising they are admitting fault, and by admitting fault they just might be liable for the damage done by the offense. Why would someone apologise for a car accident they caused if that meant they had to pay for the damages to the other car?

This is also true with governments around the world. It took the United States until 2009 to give a tepid apology for slavery. Japan didn’t apologise for wartime atrocities against the Koreans until 2015 and Australia apologised for crimes against the Aborigines in 2008. This has made it possible for the US, Japanese and Australian governments to be sued by victims demanding reparations.

They don't know how to apologise. Believe it or not, some people have spent their whole lives never apologising and/or acknowledging fault. When they arrive at a point in their lives where they know they are wrong, they simply lack the ability to take responsibility and apologise.

Some people sincerely believe they are never wrong. If they are proven wrong, they double down because they believe that it is impossible for them to be wrong. This seems to be a trend among the world’s despotic leaders. 

Maybe I’m being a little unfair to those who fit into the categories I mentioned above. Maybe I should try to understand things from their point of view. Maybe the “apologisee” can make things easier for the “apologiser” if we only learned to accept the apology like adults. 

If there are always going to be negative consequences to apologising, what’s the point in doing so? Maybe we, the people of the world, should be more accommodating and kind to those who wish to acknowledge their own mistakes.

So in order to not be called out as a hypocrite, I will write this one last thing. 

AirAsia, I forgive you... this time.

* Aaron Donchin is from the United States and works as a lecturer at a local private college.  If you would like to contact him, please send an email to [email protected]

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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