Monday, April 23, 2012

Customer delight

How far would you go to serve your customers? This is one real story that sets the benchmarks of great customer service...

A man was en route from a business trip in L.A. to his daughter’s home in Denver to see his three-year-old grandson for the last time. The boy, beaten into a coma by his mother’s live-in boyfriend, was being taken off of life support at 9 p.m. that evening so his organs could be used to save other lives.

The man’s wife called Southwest to arrange the last-minute flight and explained the emergency situation. Unfortunately, the man was held up by L.A. traffic and long lines at LAX and didn’t make it to the gate on time.

When he finally made it there 12 minutes after the plane was scheduled to leave, he was shocked to find the pilot waiting for him. He thanked the pilot profusely, and the pilot said, “They can’t go anywhere without me, and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry."

You can read more such true stories here:


Monday, March 5, 2012

Trouble Tree

We all have storms come through our lives, but one thing is for sure—we have no right to make everyone else miserable with our own unhappiness. No need to rain on others' parades. A simple story illustrates this point:
The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pick up truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.

On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching tips of the branches with both hands.

When opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles, and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing's for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.

"Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick 'em up, there ain't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."

I don't know who first told this story—no one seems to know—but he or she must have been a very wise person. Putting boundaries around our problems is a really good idea—it prevents our difficulties from spilling over onto other people (especially our loved ones), who can't do anything about our problems. Why burden them if they can't help us?

So, plant yourself a trouble tree outside your front door—or a potted trouble plant, if you live in an apartment—and use it whenever you come home. Be grateful that you have loved ones to go home to, even if your loved one is simply your beloved dog or cherished cat or prized goldfish. And when you pick up your troubles on the way out each morning, be grateful that they're not as heavy as they were the night before.

Shared from the book 'Dance in the rain'; contributed by my friend Sunny


King Solomon’s Ring

This is a popular Jewish wisdom folktale. It contains a very important lesson that relates to the Buddhist concept of “impermanence.”

“One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah Ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, “Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot which gives you six months to find it.”

“If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty,” replied Benaiah,

“I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?” “It has magic powers,” answered the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.” Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility.

Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares on a shabby carpet. “Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah.

He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile. That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity.

“Well, my friend,” said Solomon, “have you found what I sent you after?” All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled. To everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty!” As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: gimel, zayin, yud, which began the words “Gam zeh ya’avor” — “This too shall pass.” At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.”

The lesson of King Solomon’s story is impermanence; nothing remains forever, everything is passing, rising and decaying, appearing and vanishing in this whirlwind of space-time. King Solomon, after being presented with the ring, realizes this lesson is true for all of life’s conditions – not just the fluctuating, and sometimes unpredictable arousal of mental feelings such as happiness and sadness – but also the impermanence of physical beings as well, including our own possessions and body.


Purpose of life

 Consider a hammer. It's designed to hit nails. That's what it was created to do. Now imagine that the hammer never gets used. It just sits in the toolbox. The hammer doesn't care.

But now imagine that same hammer with a soul, a self-consciousness. Days and days go by with him remaining in the toolbox. He feels funny inside, but he's not sure exactly why. Something is missing, but he doesn't know what it is.

Then one day someone pulls him out of the toolbox and uses him to break some branches for the fireplace. The hammer is exhilarated. Being held, being wielded, hitting the branches -- the hammer loves it. At the end of the day, though, he is still unfulfilled. Hitting the branches was fun, but it wasn't enough. Something is still missing.

In the days that follow, he's used often. He reshapes a hubcap, blasts through some sheet rock, knocks a table leg back into place. Still, he's left unfulfilled. So he longs for more action. He wants to be used as much as possible to knock things around, to break things, to blast things, to dent things. He figures that he just hasn't had enough of these events to satisfy him. More of the same, he believes, is the solution to his lack of fulfillment.

Then one day someone uses him on a nail. Suddenly, the lights come on in his hammer soul. He now understands what he was truly designed for. He was meant to hit nails. All the other things he hit pale in comparison. Now he knows what his hammer soul was searching for all along.

Same goes true for our purpose in life -- we may do 'many' things, or we may get much 'more' to satisfy our never ending desires, but in the end, it is only the real purpose of life that results in fulfillment.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Definition of hell

Stumbled across this hard-hitting message:

Someone once told me the definition of hell:

The last day you have on earth, when the person you HAVE become

will meet

the person you COULD HAVE become.

I don't wish that day upon you.