Tuesday, December 9, 2008

ducks quack, Eagles fly..

Years ago, my friend, Harvey Mackay, told me 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

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 environment." 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

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 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 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 action."

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

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop
quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

So, what are you?


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