By Steve Moran

Do you remember Tiffany Gomas, better known as “The Crazy Plane Lady”? Ten months or so ago, she went viral in the worst kind of way. She was videoed going incoherently crazy on an American Airlines flight from Ft. Worth, Texas, to Orlando. She claimed that someone — apparently another passenger — was not real.

She was ultimately escorted off the plane and has a lifetime ban from ever flying on American Airlines.

She Is Back.

She has reinvented herself as a right-leaning influencer with this post, featuring a conservative beer company:

To provide some context: As of this writing …

  • This post has 8.3 million views, 59,700 likes, and almost 10,000 comments.
  • She has 276,700 followers on Twitter.
  • She has 162,000 followers on Instagram.

What’s This Have to Do With Senior Living?

She should not have gone nuts on the flight. It was stupid and embarrassing. It made her look terrible. According to news reports, she was so embarrassed that for a month after the event, she never left her house. She blew it.

Then she realized that people were paying attention to her — for all the wrong reasons, but nonetheless paying attention to her.

She leveraged that attention to rehabilitate her position in life.

Not Quite Like Senior Living

There is a serious lesson here for senior living. We are in the spotlight in a lot of places, with very negative press. And the stories are much worse. People have died, and in too many cases the deaths have been horrific. The organizations where these abuses took place (they were abuses — mostly neglect, but abuses nonetheless) should be embarrassed, should be held accountable, and honestly should apologize.

They should also be providing regular report cards about how they are going to make sure this will never happen again. While this makes attorneys crazy, it is not like they are not going to have to pay big settlements anyway.

Here is what it should look like. Lessons from Tiffany:

  • Rightfully be embarrassed about what happened.
  • Take some time to reflect on how to be better.
  • Readily admit that what happened did happen, be embarrassed by it, and apologize for it.
  • Use your newfound audience to tell a different, better story, while people are paying attention. (I am not suggesting a bikini picture promoting a beer brand is close the look senior living should go for.)

Our going silent, or going on the defense, may make the lawyers look good, feel good, but it will not win us fans — at a time when we need more fans.