Perhaps you traveled by air this holiday season, and perhaps you wouldn't use the word "exemplary" to describe your customer service. Perhaps the airline representative took a tone with you over the phone, and perhaps you said some things you didn't mean in return. Congrats! You're in good company.

The New York Times brings us the story of Brothers Noah and John Baptist of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, in Abiquiu, N.M., who also had a less-than-exemplary experience with an airline recently. In late November, John Baptist flew via United Airlines to Malawi, where he is from, to visit his sick mother, purchasing a round-trip ticket for $2,489. Eventually, it became clear that he'd need to stay longer than expected, so his colleague Noah called to make the new arrangements. That, in the words of the Times, is "when the trouble started."

A monk at the monastery, Brother Noah, called United and said he was told that the company never received payment for the ticket. This sounded insane, given that Brother John Baptist had already used the outbound portion of the itinerary. United's rep then said something a little contradictory: Brother John Baptist actually had credit for a return flight, but he could not use this credit because of suspicion that the original transaction was fraudulent.

The best idea, the rep suggested, was for the monastery's leader, Abbot Philip, to visit the United desk at the airport in Albuquerque, a three-hour drive away.

Things went on like that for a while until Noah finally erupted into a fit of righteous anger, or something like that.

"I said to her something like: 'Thank you for speaking. God bless you. I will pray for you. But you have not been helpful.' "

Hold him back, holy one!

"It was my tone of voice," he said. "I know that it manifested anger."

After an open letter posted to the monastery's website and quite a bit more back-and-forth with United, the airline finally issued the ticket, along with an apology and a $350 credit for future flights. "We really appreciated this," Noah told the Times, "because it was the first time someone had said it wasn't the monks' fault!"

[Image via AP]