Ducks quack, Eagles soar

No one can make you
serve customers well. That’s because great service is a choice.

Harvey Mackay, tells a
wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point. 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 mission statement.’ Taken aback, Harvey
read the card. It said: Wally’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their
destination in the quickest, 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 soft drink.’ 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 Diet Coke.’

Handing him his drink,
Wally said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal,
Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.’ 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 thoughts.

‘Tell me, Wally,’ my
amazed friend asked the driver, ‘have you always served customers like this?’ Wally smiled into the
rear view 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 one day.

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 said.

‘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 the

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.

In these “interesting economic times,” it’s just
this type of attitude that could well make the difference between your company
just thriving or surviving. Take a lesson from Wally: Ducks quack, Eagles soar.


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