“Be alert to give service. What counts a great deal in life is what we do for others.”
The phone rang at quarter to four…
… in the morning.
It was the cabbie from Radio Cab. He was here to take me to the airport.
My alarm hadn’t gone off. Quickly, I jumped out of bed, threw on my clothes, grabbed my bag, kissed my wife, hugged the sleeping children, patted the dog, ran down the stairs and out the door where the cabbie put my bag into the trunk while I fell into the back seat.
He introduced himself as Nathan as we exchanged pleasantries. I couldn’t have been very coherent or amenable, but Nathan was courteous and polite. We talked about the aftermath of St. Patrick’s Day, work, family, sleep, and all the other things people talk about at that time of night.
As we drove over the Marquam bridge, my decaffeinated brain thought that it would be a good idea to do a quick inventory.
- Only one bag, no others to stow. Check.
- Cell phone. Check.
- Wallet. Check.
- Leatherman. Check.
- Itinerary. Che …
Leatherman? Pocket knife? You can’t take a pocket knife on a plane. Ahh gheez. That thing was expensive, incredibly useful, and it was a gift. Now it’s lost.
I grumbled to Nathan, lamenting my soon-to-be-lost knife. I told him how, years ago, I had lost a pocket knife while sliding down St. Mary’s glacier in Colorado. Another time, I had struggled once to get six kids through airport security in Knoxville, Tennessee only to realize that I had, once again, brought my knife. Gone.
Nathan listened politely. Then he did something curious.
He offered to help. He said that he could take it and leave it with his dispatcher. Not knowing what else to do, I gave him the Leatherman. At the airport, I thanked him, gave him a tip, hopped out of the cab and silently wondered if I would lose yet another pocket knife.
That was Sunday. I returned on Wednesday.
After landing, the first thing I did was get a ride down to the Radio Cab dispatch office. I walked into the garage. Not having ever been in a taxi garage, I expected to see Louie, Alex, Latke, Tony, Elaine and Bobby. But I didn’t.
Instead, I asked the first cabbie I saw where the dispatch office was. He asked me what I needed. I explained.
He then took me into the office where a dispatcher was busy explaining to a customer over the phone how he would try to rectify her bad experience. He sounded like he was from the East. He also sounded very sincere.
It took the dispatcher and the other cabbie to rummage through all the drawers before they found it. They handed it to me. My Leatherman!
I’ve only taken Radio Cab a couple times before, but they’ve always been courteous, on time and, on this day, they went went the extra mile.
I know this isn’t a dramatic customer service story. No lives were saved. No one was pulled from a burning car. My lost children weren’t found. But it’s a simple story of one person helping another.
Like I’ve written here before, everyday we always have the opportunity to give something to the people around us.
Sometimes, it’s those small and thankless acts which make the biggest impression.
Thank you, Nathan. I appreciate it.
Today’s gift of time – Even though I’m still exhausted from my trip, and could have gotten out of it, I attended a meeting of a struggling Toastmaster club which I’m trying to help. While I was there, I tried to go that extra mile, just like Nathan did for me.