My Friend Max
Sometimes wisdom and life changing opportunities come out of the blue. The challenge for us is to recognize them and take heed. In this second abstract from Ed Wallace’s book, Business Relationships That Last, that is exactly what Ed experiences… Please enjoy this guest blog, “My Friend Max.”
My Friend Max
A number of years ago, my sales efforts required that I travel a great deal. I didn’t like being away from my family any more than necessary, so I became king of the day-trippers. It got so that I could leave my home on the East Coast around 5:00 a.m. for a meeting in Minneapolis or Des Moines and still make it back home the same day for a late dinner and to see Brett, our first child, for a few precious minutes before tucking him into bed.
The night before one of these trips, my car developed an engine problem. I asked my wife, Laurie, to reserve a taxi to the airport for me. As usual, when she got involved in helping me solve one of my problems, remarkable events began to unfold. The next morning, I waited anxiously for the car to arrive. At precisely 5:00 a.m. I noticed an old-fashioned British taxi, with stately, rounded exterior lines, running boards, and a large passenger compartment pull up in the front of the house. Even in the faint light of dawn I could tell the car was spotlessly clean. In the short amount of time, it took me to exit the house and lock the door, the driver had already exited the taxi and was on his way up the walk toward the house. He was a tall, lanky fellow with glasses and the sort of calm, kind face you might see in a Norman Rockwell painting. I was about to learn that he was not your average taxi driver. He gave me a warm, “Good morning,” and we walked together toward his parked taxi. I climbed into the passenger area of the car, settled into a luxurious leather seat, stretched out my legs, and felt a deep sense of comfort and relief. When the driver started the car, I noticed there was no noise—no scratchy dispatcher’s voice barking instructions, no jangling music on the radio. A cooler within reach provided a supply of bottled water. It was amazing! As we pulled away, the driver turned around to introduce himself. “Hello, Ed, my name is Max,” he said with a smile. “Glad to meet you, Max,” I replied, wondering how he knew my name. As we drove, he asked me a couple of questions about myself. Since I’m pretty much my own favorite topic, I happily offered plenty of information. He was a terrific listener, and I found myself sharing a good deal about my life with this person that I hardly knew. He had a special calm, sincere demeanor that made me feel comfortable opening up to him. He took special note when I told him about our new young son and how he had just started sleeping through the night. When we arrived at the airport, I gave Max a more generous tip than I usually give drivers. I had so thoroughly enjoyed his company and the stress-free ride to the airport I asked him to schedule me for the following Tuesday. Max hesitated and then said, “I’m truly sorry, Ed, but I cannot pick you up next week.” “What’s wrong, Max, is it something I said?” I inquired, half-jokingly. “No, nothing like that, Ed. I just have a great deal of fares— friends, that is—and they usually need to book three to four weeks in advance with me.” “For a ride to the airport at five o’clock in the morning?” I asked incredulously. “Yes, I have a lot of friends,” Max responded. “I just happened to have a cancellation last night before I got your wife’s request for a ride.” “Okay, how about three weeks from today?” I tried again. “That works. I look forward to seeing you then,” Max answered, and he was off.
We will continue with the story of Max next week.
The Time is Now.