What If You Drove a Cab?….Making A Difference At Work

“People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

~author unknown

346692_beetle_taxi_toy_2 The other day I had to take a business trip, upon landing at the airport I asked an information person if I could walk to the hotel where the meeting was being held and he suggested I take a cab, even though it was only a few miles away the only way to get their was on the freeway.  I proceeded to the ground transportation area and looked on the board to see if the hotel had a shuttle, and it did not.  I went over to the cab line and told the person where I needed to go and he hailed a cab for me.  Once I got into the cab and told the driver where I needed to go he became irate with me and said “why didn’t you take a hotel shuttle?”  I told him that there were not shuttles to the hotel and I needed to go to a meeting right away.  He again in a pretty nasty voice said “you should have called the hotel it is not far away.”  I told him I needed to get to a meeting and asked if he was going to take me.  He was so angry because the trip was so short, he made remarks in his native language, which I could only imagine what he was saying and drove a bit erratically. To say the least I was pretty uncomfortable.  Upon arriving at the hotel (thank goodness it was only about 8 minutes away) I thanked him and asked if I could have a receipt and he threw it in the back seat.  I gave him a couple of dollars for a tip (only because I did not have the correct change and wanted to get out of the cab ASAP) and told him to have a nice day, upon which he said something (I am sure it was not nice) and drove off making a squealing noise with his tires.  As I sat having a cup of coffee, I pondered why would someone like him would be in the customer service business when he made it very evident it was all about him and not his customer.  Let’s move ahead six hours in the day and I need a cab to head back to the airport to go home.  The person at the front desk calls me a cab and I am thinking (oh please let it not be the same driver).  Ten minutes later a nice man pulls up and I hesitantly tell him that I just need a ride back to the airport and he states “hop in I can get you there right away.”  He has a wonderful smile and begins asking me all about where I was from and how was our weather, what do I do for a living, and what brought me to his city.  He was delightful, charming, thoughtful, engaging, and down right a sweet man.  Upon arriving at the airport I gave him more for his tip than it was for the ride and he was shocked.  I then told him my experience from the cab driver in the morning, and he said he was very sorry that I had encountered such an unhappy man.  I told him that he made a difference in my short drive and that is what customer service is all about, making a good experience for your customers and if it takes going the extra mile you do it.  He thanked me and said that he was glad it was him that picked me up and I was in total agreement with him.  It really doesn’t matter if our encounters with our customers are long or short, it is how they remember their time with us.

The story below is about a cab driver who understood that there is something wonderful about serving his clients with his whole heart.  The link below will take you to the article in full, read it and then share it. 


The Cab Ride

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxi’s as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. The passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.  After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her eighties stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then turned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said.  When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.” I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

The Cab Ride (story in full)

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