Crippled CEO Blog #151:
All of the mesh that we had in stock was defective and unusable.
The mesh that we received as a replacement for the last bad batch was also full of defects and problems.
For a company that makes removable mesh pool safety fence, being out of mesh is bad.
With no mesh, the factory shuts down. The workers all go home. Orders don’t ship. Dealers start losing jobs. Children might drown.
The person who took care of our account at the mesh company was an industry veteran named Tony Ward. Tony grew up near the company headquarters in Dothan, AL, started working in the warehouse as a teenager, and quickly moved up the ranks to where he was then — the salesman in charge of our business.
Tony knew the trouble we were in.
Tony knew the ramifications of us not having any good mesh to use.
But Tony was just the sales guy. He wasn’t the one making the mesh. He didn’t cause the problem. There wasn’t much he could do to fix it. It certainly wasn’t his fault.
But even though Tony Ward knew these problems weren’t his fault, as the representative in charge of taking care of us for his employer, he decided that it was his responsibility.
And that’s why, on a Sunday evening, Tony loaded up his personal truck with as much mesh as he could fit, after personally inspecting every roll, and drove through the night from Dothan, AL to Delray Beach, FL.
Tony and his truck full of usable mesh were waiting for us on Monday morning when we opened for business. Nobody had to be sent home. Orders were shipped. No jobs were lost. No children drown.
Tony Ward’s midnight run happened roughly 15 years ago and I’m still talking about it. He’s still at that mesh company. And when I called needing help with something a few weeks ago, he was happy to assist.
Being a hero, in business or otherwise, usually doesn’t require any special skills or talents. Most the time, it just takes caring so much that you’re willing to do extraordinary things. It takes choosing to take responsibility even when it’s not your fault.
Tony was our hero that Monday morning, and I bet he never tells that story. In fact, I would wager that he has a library full of stories like that, where he’s gone above and beyond to do the right thing, that he never talks about. We need more people like Tony Ward.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some drive trucks full of mesh in the middle of the night.
(Do you know who did some heroic stuff last night? Your mom. Your mom also gets a text from me every Sunday with a link to the latest blog post. Send a text to 561-726-1567 with the word CRIP as the message to get a link to the blog as soon as it’s up.
Did you know that I have a YouTube channel now? I do! I am putting up two videos every single week. Go search for Crippled CEO and you’ll find me. I would appreciate it if you subscribed.)