can make you serve customers well. That's
because great service is a choice.
Years ago, my friend, Harvey Mackay, told me a
wonderful story about a cab driver that proved
He was waiting in line for a ride at the
airport. When a cab pulled up,the first thing
Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished
to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white
shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed
black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and
rounded the car to open the back passenger
door for Harvey .
He handed my friend a laminated card and said:
"I'm Wally, your driver. While I'm loading
your bags in the trunk I'd like you to read my
Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said:
Wally's Mission Statement:
To get my customers to their destination in
safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly
This blew Harvey away. Especially when he
noticed that the inside of the cab matched the
outside. Spotlessly clean!
As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said,
"Would you like a cup of coffee?
I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf."
My friend said jokingly, "No, I'd prefer a
Wally smiled and said, "No problem. I have a
cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke,
water and orange juice."
Almost stuttering, Harvey said, "I'll take a
Handing him his drink, Wally said, "If you'd
like something to read, I have The Wall Street
Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA
As they were pulling away, Wally handed my
friend another laminated card."These are the
stations I get and the music they play, if
you'd like to listen to the radio."
And as if that weren't enough, Wally told
Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and
asked if the temperature was comfortable for
him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route
to his destination for that time of day. He
also let him know that he'd be happy to chat
and tell him about some of the sights or, if
Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own
"Tell me, Wally," my amazed friend asked the
driver, "have you always served customers like
Wally smiled into the rearview mirror. "No,
not always. In fact, it's only been in the
last two years. My first five years driving, I
spent most of my time complaining like all the
rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the
personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio
He had just written a book called You'll See
It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you
get up in the morning expecting to have a bad
day, you'll rarely disappoint yourself. He
said, 'Stop complaining! Differentiate
yourself from your competition. Don't be a
duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain.
Eagles soar above the crowd.'"
"That hit me right between the eyes," said
Wally. "Dyer was really talking about me. I
was always quacking and complaining, so I
decided to change my attitude and become an
eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and
their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the
drivers were unfriendly, and the customers
were unhappy. So I decided to make some
changes. I put in a few at a time. When my
customers responded well, I did more."
"I take it that has paid off for you," Harvey
"It sure has," Wally replied. "My first year
as an eagle, I doubled my income from the
previous year. This year I'll probably
quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today.
I don't sit at cabstands anymore. My customers
call me for appointments on my cell phone or
leave a message on my answering machine. If I
can't pick them up myself, I get a reliable
cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of
Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo
service out of a Yellow Cab. I've probably
told that story to more than fifty cab drivers
over the years, and only two took the idea and
ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I
give them a call. The rest of the drivers
quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons
they couldn't do any of what I was suggesting.
Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice.
He decided to stop quacking like ducks and
start soaring like eagles.