A few months ago, I was sent a story via Facebook about a cab driver in India. It appears that there are a couple of different versions of the story around the internet but they are similar enough and attributed to motivational speaker Harvey Mack. The story is used to illustrate points about customer service but I was struck by the fact that this cab driver’s story was a great illustration of someone who has a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Here is the story:
I was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. 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 Wasu, 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: Wasu’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, Wasu 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.”
Wasu 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, Wasu said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Hindu, Times of India, ET, and India Today.”
As they were pulling away, Wasu 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, Wasu 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, Wasu,” I was amazed and asked him, “have you always served customers like this?”
Wasu 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.”
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,” I said.
“It sure has,” Wasu replied. “My first year 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.”
Wasu was in a situation in which most would not even consider the idea that they can learn or improve their lot in life. A taxi driver in India or most other countries is not a high sought-after career. The choices he made started with the fact that he was open to growing and learning and eventually changing. He now is profiting from his ability to see growth as a choice and a mindset.