"Time is the friend ofthe wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre."
About a month after I had spoken, I received a call from a 19-year-old bagger named Johnny. He proudly informed me that he was a Down syndrome individual and told me his story. “I liked what you talked about!” he said, “but at first I didn’t think I could do anything special for our customers. After all, I’m just a bagger. Then I had an idea!”
Johnny said, “Every night after work, I’d come home and find a thought for the day. If I didn’t find a saying I liked, I would think them up.”
When Johnny had a good thought for the day, his dad helped him set it up on the computer and print multiple copies. Johnny cut out each quote & signed his name on the back. Then he’d bring them back to work each day. “When I finish bagging someone’s groceries, I put in the thought for the day and say ‘Thanks for shopping with us!’
It touched me to think that this young man with a job most people would say is not important, had made it important by creating precious memories for all his customers.
A month later the store manager called me and said “You won’t believe what happened. When I was making my rounds today, I found Johnny’s checkout line was three times longer than anyone else’s! It went all the way around the frozen food aisle. So I quickly announced, “we need more cashiers; get more lanes open,” as I tried to get people to change lines. But no one would move! They said, ‘No, its okay - we want to be in Johnny’s lane - we want his ‘Thought for the Day’.”
The store manager continued, “It was a joy to watch Johnny delight the customers. I got a lump in my throat when one woman said, ‘I used to shop at your store once a week, but now I come in every time I go by, because I want to get Johnny’s ‘Thought for the Day’.”
A few months later, the manager called me again. He said, “Johnny has transformed our store. Now when the floral department has a broken flower or an unused corsage, they find an elderly woman or a little girl and pin it on them. Everyone’s having a lot of fun creating memories. Our customers are talking about us - they’re coming back and bringing their friends. A wonderful spirit of service has spread throughout the entire store - and all because Johnny chose to make a difference!”
Johnny’s idea was not nearly as innovative as it was loving. It came from the heart - it was real. That’s what touched his customers, his peers and those who hear this story.
Great service comes from the heart. Will you be a Johnny today?