I was waiting in line for a ride at the airport in Dubai. When a cab pulled up, the first thing I 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 me.
He handed me a laminated card and said: ‘I’m Abdul, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.’
Taken aback, I read the card. It said: Abdul’s Mission Statement: “To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.”
This blew me away. Especially when I noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!
As he slid behind the wheel, Abdul said, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.’
I said jokingly, ‘No, I’d prefer a soft drink.’
Abdul smiled and said, ‘No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, lassi, water and orange juice.’
Almost stuttering, I said, ‘I’ll take a Lassi.’
Handing me my drink, Abdul said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have The NST , Star and Sun Today.’
As they were pulling away, Abdul handed me 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, Abdul told me that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for me.
Then he advised me of the best route to my destination for that time of day. He also let me know that he’d be happy to chat and tell me about some of the sights or, if I preferred, to leave me with my own thoughts.
‘Tell me, Abdul ,’ I was amazed and asked him, ‘have you always served customers like this?’
Abdul 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 about POWER OF CHOICE one day.”
Power of choice is that you can be a duck or an eagle.
‘If you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. Stop complaining!’
‘Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’
‘That hit me. really hard’ said Abdul.
‘It is 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, slowly … a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.’
‘I take it that it has paid off for you,’ I said.
‘It sure has,’ Abdul replied. ‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on it.’
Abdul made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like a duck and start soaring like an eagle.