After our boys went off to college, my spouse and I started a routine of going to a breakfast grill located inside our favorite supermarket every Saturday morning. One morning we met Eddie. His name tag was proudly displayed on his company shirt. He greeted us with a welcoming hello and smile and said, “good morning, I’m Eddie. What can I make for you this morning”. I ordered eggs and sausage and Eddie appropriately asked me a simple routine question, “how do you like your eggs?” I told him and he repeated my requirements. Now to this point, there is nothing really unique about this encounter. However, what happened next was the real deal maker. Eddie continued; “I want to make sure I get’em right and remember the way you like’em for the next time you come in!”
There are a lot of “ownership of work” lessons we can learn from Eddie. First of all he wanted to make certain he took care of me the best way possible and do it right the first time. Secondly he wanted me to know that I was important enough that he would remember me personally. Third, he was going to take such care of me that I would have no choice but to keep coming back.
Through the years, we have continued to go to our favorite Saturday morning breakfast grill. Eddie is always there. I love standing in line watching him greet return and new customers alike with a big hello, a fist bump and taking their order or asking if they are having their usual. I don’t have to tell you how awesome it feels to go somewhere like this and among all those being served, you are recognized and remembered or on your first visit, you feel like a long time friend. As a customer, there is no greater feeling.
Eddie knows hundreds of customers’ names and their “usual orders”. One day I had the chance to catch him on a break. At this point in time Eddie had seen me so many times, he knew my boys names and where they were, and what they were doing. He even asked about when and where my band was playing next. I asked him, “How long have you been here?” He replied, “Eight great years.” Then I asked him why it mattered so much to him to not only remembering customer names, but also their orders. He said, “Because I choose to, the greatest thing about my job is my customers and the last thing I see before they leave is a smile on their face!” BOOM. That says it all. It’s a matter of choice, personal choice! Think how the workplace of the world would look and function if everyone believed like Eddie!
Day after day, year after year, Eddie shows up by choice to do his work the way he does. Do you think he ever has a day not go the way he planned? Do you think he has had to deal with disgruntled customers? Do you think that there may have been days over the past eight years that he might not want to get up at 4:00 a.m. and head to work to heat up the grill? Does any of this ring a bell?
Before I leave Eddie’s example, please understand that I know Eddie can have “off” days. No one is perfect. The point is Eddie has a choice on how he wants to start and finish his work day. The same holds true for each and every one of us.
As for me, I will continue to make my Saturday morning breakfast choice a “given” and I know who will be there taking care of me and everyone else who gladly waits their turn standing in his line!