Cold Wind, Cops & a Car

Welcome to winter John thought as he stood inside the Quebec airport terminal. Outside the snow was sideways from a furious wind.

John and his partner had flown in for a sales call – from the sunny south – Alabama, USA. The French gal at the Hertz counter pegged them immediately and began speaking in beautifully accented English.

John gestured over his shoulder to the weather. “Do we have to walk to the shuttle, walk to the Hertz lot, then walk outside again to our car?”

She smiled and shook her head. “Sir, we will deliver your auto right outside that door. It’s a blue Ford Crown Victoria.”

Five minutes later, a big blue Ford pulled up and a man jumped out and ran into the terminal. The two men looked at him and the guy nodded as he walked by. John glanced at his partner who said “let’s go!” and they dashed into the snow.

Thank goodness the car was running and warm. They drove out of the airport and John told his colleague to pull the map out of the glove compartment where the counter woman had said it awaited them.

The door was popped open. Paper trash and other garbage spilled onto his lap.

“This car is a dump!” John couldn’t believe Hertz would give them a vehicle without cleaning it first. And then that little light went off overhead. They looked at each other and said together,

“It’s not our car.”

A glance into the rear view mirror and the men realized that someone else had come to the same conclusion. Another light was going off, a flashing light from a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) vehicle.

Well, of course they had taken that poor guy’s car who nodded to them, thinking he was giving the “go ahead and get in” signal while he rushed in from the cold.

The RCMP were very professional throughout, doing their best to suppress their grins at their stupid mistake. And Hertz apologized for the confusion, telling the two of them that they wouldn’t be charged for driving the car that Hertz intended they use – once they finally got it.

John said his lesson was that impatience can have lots of unexpected consequences.

POSTMORTEM: John, a wanted man north of the border! He’s right, though. Life is getting too fast. We’re always in a hurry. We cram cell phone conversations into our down time during the day. We can’t even relax and enjoy television commercials anymore. Our clients and prospects want us to get quickly to the point as well. We rush to sell and this is when mistakes happen. BUT, if you learn to slow down and calm down – it will increase your energy when you need it most. Be wise about managing your time, take time for yourself. You body, your mind and most importantly, your family will love you for those times you choose to simply slow down.

© 2006 Sales Autopsy by Dan Seidman, Kaplan Publishing, coming in October 2006.

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