On the way to work the other morning I was reminded of a kindness someone did for me some time ago, just after a major snowstorm.
Many of us have had the experience of shoveling the snow out of our driveway aprons only to have the street-plow guy come by and blast it full of snow again. This has been a recurring irritation for me over the years, and I believe I’ve heard and seen news reports of actual violent confrontations which have resulted from such situations. I would never resort to actual mayhem, but I’m not above giving the plow driver a dirty look before going back to shoveling the area I just finished shoveling.
One morning several winters back there was a big storm and I had just finished shoveling my driveway apron – only to look up and see a plow coming down my side of the street. My heart sank and my blood pressure rose. As the plow truck drew nearer, I happened to notice that this was not a municipal truck but rather a local landscaping contractor who was obviously plowing for the town. Whatever. I felt my shoulders sag in disappointment, and I slowly stepped back so as not to be run over.
The driver must have seen my look of absolute defeat, because as he approached my driveway something strange began to happen. The plow driver slowed his truck…and began to change the angle of his plow so that less snow would be pushed aside into my driveway area. I think my jaw must have dropped open in amazement, but I managed a feeble wave of thanks as the truck passed. However, this plow driver wasn’t through. After passing my driveway, he put the truck in reverse and came back again to clear the snow that had unavoidably come off the plow in my direction. Needless to say, I was astounded; I gave him a big smile and big wave as he continued on his way.
So, driving to work the other morning I happened to see a truck from that landscaping contractor – the one for whom that plow driver was working on that snowy day a few years ago. I was immediately reminded of that man’s considerate act, and a smile came to my face as I was beginning my day. I also remembered an important business lesson…
In business, especially a service-oriented one, your People are your Product. Further, an organization’s people represent that organization even at times when customers are not directly being served.
I hope that the plow driver from that brief encounter is appreciated by his employer, because if I ever need to hire a landscape contractor you know which one I’ll call.