Ode to a Service Provider

The conference was due to start in 20 minutes.  My hands were gripping the steering wheel in a stranglehold, my heart began to race, and I realized I was not going to be able to take the Penn Avenue exit.  Tears started welling in my eyes.  I blinked them away, and merged to the exit lane.  Glancing left and right, I recalled meeting with him in that parking lot, and in that one, and oh, yes, that business there with the Realtors, meeting and talking about customer issues and opportunities he had found…..geeze it was back 5 years ago that I had this territory!  WHAT is my problem this morning?

Grief is a powerful thing. 

True, I’m no longer a part of the organization, but I still experience the “Bleed Brown” phenomena, and know my experience and bonds with UPS will stay with me the rest of my life.  My business conference was in the crime scene area, and even a month later, being there dredged up memories. 

Keith.

He was caring, conscientious, and respectful.  He was attentive, loyal, and responsible.  He was upbeat, funny, thoughtful, and a loving family man.  He was strong, fast and efficient.  He was humble, modest, and always went the extra mile for his customers, putting his best effort out there and providing end to end superior service every single day.  He genuinely cared about his customers, and they loved him right back.  We all did. 

I looked forward to his excited calls to let me know he found a new opportunity for an account, and his infectious bubbly greeting whenever we ran into each other at the grocery store. When my territory changed, he was one I missed working with most.

In a work culture of “church and state”, he was one of those rare Union employees who put all the politics aside in favor of doing right by the customer. Even if that meant getting written up for not following methods.  Even if that meant helping out when he didn’t have to.  Even if that meant working and playing well with Business Development people like me.  He was a gem to work with and know.

UPS Small Package Car Driver Keith Basinski didn’t deserve what fate had in store for him on September 27th, 2012.   

His kids were about grown.  He was looking forward to retiring in a few years. Looking forward to the next chapter of his life.  Looking forward to taking care of business at his daily stop at Accent Signage Systems….certainly not looking forward to being shot dead.

We can speculate all day long. Why, oh why did he and the four others killed that day need to be taken from us?  So unexpected.   So unnecessary. So damn wrong.

But we will never get answers to satisfy our yearning to understand, take back time, or make sense of the senselessness.  There is no fixing this one.  We can only be thankful for having had the chance to know Keith, pray for his family, and celebrate each day we are blessed with life moving forward.

Or can we do something more? 

Today’s economy and job market alone provides many reasons to be concerned, and eager to take proactive steps to protect yourself, and your organizations people.  I ask you, respectfully, to pause least once in the course of your busy life, and access your own world.  Look within your own organization, and answer these questions to yourself, and with your Leadership Team.

Do you thank all the great people that make your business successful as often as you could?

Do you know your employees—really know them?  Are they happy, sad, fulfilled in their job?  In their life?

Do you have programs in place to offer advancement or other motivational avenues for your team?

Do you have resources in place to offer your employees confidential assistance with difficult issues?

Do you see tendencies from any of your people that would suggest a potential for concern?

Do you have a plan in place to tactfully address situations with them that are not comfortable?

Do you have a solid and thoughtful policy to execute with terminations?

Do you require a secure, key entry only access to your building?

Do you promote clearly stated company-wide business rules for all those entering the building?

Do you require pre-screening to hire for shared vision and culture? 

No one can predict when, where or why a tragedy like Accent Signage’s may occur next.  As humans, any one of us can break.   Do you know, should you know, as much as possible to discourage an opportunity for disaster to happen within your organization?

I am saddened by the loss of Keith Basinksi. It was a privilege and honor to know him.

The busiest time of the year will soon be upon the UPS Service Providers in their little brown trucks.  To all of the dedicated, strong, brave, hard-working wonderful drivers at UPS I salute you.  Travel safe, stretch often, and keep it in the Power Zone, my friends.

Don’t Want to Miss a Thing? Subscribe to My Blog

Speak Your Mind

*