7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with
companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
Source: American Express Survey
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"You’re bleeding, BADLY!"
Three words I never wanted to
hear from my Beautiful Bride.
The next thing I knew, I
was on the examination table at a Vanderbilt University Medical
They say your life flashes before your
eyes when you think you’re about to die, but I was thinking
about what a STUPID way this would be to die.
plenty of chances to go out in a “Blaze of Glory”, from getting
lost in a Cessna 152 on my first solo cross country flight and
nearly running out of fuel, to running out of oxygen at the
bottom of the Caribbean while diving in Mexico, to sky jumping
off the top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, to crashing a
jetpack in Key West. If I’m going to die suddenly, I want to die
while doing something I love.
But NOT like this.
I was doing some minor repairs as we near the end of our home
renovation, and didn’t duck when I walked under a low ceiling in
a catwalk/overlook. I thought about the story of how Jack Daniel
died from blood poisoning he got after kicking a safe he
couldn’t get to open. (You’ll see the safe if you ever tour the
Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, TN).
asked if she could get me anything, and I blurted out “A
I don’t know why I said that. I was trying
hard to stay calm by visualizing a beach in Cancun, and guess
that seemed to go with the theme.
She responded, “What
Margaritas are not my thing, and I didn’t know
they came in different flavors. But I was just trying not to
think about what was happening, and quipped “Strawberry”.
She came back and said, “We’re out of strawberry margaritas,
but I brought you the next best thing… a strawberry lollipop”.
They say that women make better patients than men, and that
men are big babies when we get hurt. I agree, and GLADLY took
Then in came the doctor. She asked about
the lollipop, and I explained that I have “White Lab Coat
Syndrome” (A phenomenon in which patients get so nervous in a
medical setting that their blood pressure increases.)
said she couldn’t use glue because I had a “Gaping” head wound.
I asked her not to use the word “Gaping” in the same sentence
with any part of my body again. She then discussed whether to
use stitches or staples.
My head’s been stitched up
twice. Once after a water skiing accident in Mountain Home,
Arkansas, and once after an unemployed, uninsured, 19-year-old
rear ended me in the Batmobile (my beloved black Corvette) while
she was texting.
But the image of staples in my head made
me think of Frankenstein’s monster and I quickly announced,
“I’ll take the stitches!”
Dr. Frankenstein told me I’d
need to take off my shirt if I liked it, because things could
get “messy”. She then left for a few minutes while the lidocaine
took effect. When she came back, she had done the most
REMARKABLE thing I’ve ever seen a doctor do…
taken off her lab coat.
This was more than remarkable; it
“White Lab Coat Syndrome” isn’t about
literally being afraid of white lab coats, it’s about being
nervous around doctors. The fact that she had taken hers off
told me she was listening, and actually CARED.
she was paying attention, she found a way to help calm down a
terrified 53-year-old patient clinging to a lollipop like Linus
clung to his security blanket in Charlie Brown.
no longer Dr. Frankenstein; she was an Angel of Mercy.
She had given me a hospital gown to wear so that I wouldn’t get
blood all over MY shirt, but now HER shirt was no longer covered
by her lab coat. She was more concerned about her patient than
I won’t say that getting 27 stitches in my head
was pleasant. But if it had to happen, these were the best
people it could have happened with. Not because of WHAT they
did, but because of HOW they did it.
Just as with Carlos
the Locksmith, being good at performing your job duties isn’t
enough. Professionalism and Customer Service matter. They
really, really matter.
I’d be remiss not to identify my two Angels
of Mercy. The doctor was Ruth Stewart, M.D. The nurse's first
name was Rebecca, but I failed to get her last name. I did,
however, send her chocolate afterward.
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