Sometimes businesses surprise you… and do good

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WESTFIELD — It’s a bank holiday in Britain. And I am trying to entertain my horde of children. At one point yesterday there were 9 kids in my house. I have no idea where they all came from.

Yesterday was my 10-year-old’s birthday. We went out early to play tennis. On the way back we dropped the football to kick across the pitch in the park. A big ugly dog came flying out and grabbed it. The dogs owner took 10 minutes to catch their own dog, by which time my daughter’s football was flat. The unpleasant woman handed it back to me and, unconvincingly said “sorry”. I explained that I thought it was a pretty disappointing situation, and the ball was useless now. She said “I don’t have any money,” and walked off with her dog.

My daughter cried.

Today we have tried again.

Father Christmas brought her a green iPod. On Saturday she woke up and found that the headphone cable was broken a few inches from the jack. It had cut clean through while under he pillow.

I have no idea how it happened. But we came today to a big shopping mall in London and went into the Apple store. We quietly explained the situation and said: “we don’t know how it happened, it could have been us… But do you have any existing design flaws that might explain it?”

“Just a minute the attendant said.” In less than a minute he was back with a new set. He pushed them into my daughters’ hand, and with a smile said: “Don’t tell anyone!”

There are all sorts of reasons he might have done this. I can think of lots. But there are even more reasons not to.

It was undoubtedly a business decision. And one that he was allowed to make.

For me it helped restore faith in humanity, at a time when I could do with that. For my daughter it helped balance out man’s indifference with some basic good, common sense. And a business… a capitalist enterprise… did that.

That’s why I am in the business I am in.

I believe that companies can and should be good.

Some days I am happy… very happy… to discover that I am not insane.


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One Response

  1. Kevin Keohane

    Hi David,
    It’s interesting how often these little things can renew faith.

    The unfortunate truth is that they are becoming the exception, rather than the rule.

    I’ve become more used to the “typical dog owner” scenario above, but I have a similar recent experience.

    A pedal cyclist, undeniably a maniac, with no helmet, t-shirt, shorts and trainers, cut in front of a bus, materialising about 15 feet in front of my motorcycle.

    Basically, he was dead.

    Luckily, I locked the front brake, which stopped the motorcycle very quickly. So quickly that I got bucked off (luckily, I grew up with Colorado mustangs) and the motorcycle summersaulted.

    But we managed not to kill The Idiot.

    And much to my surprise, expecting “typical cyclist” behaviour (e.g., gone like a rat out of an aqueduct), he came back. He said he was really sorry, that it had been a stupid move and he had caused the accident.

    That’s pretty cool.

    Despite the fact that he has no insurance so I’m claiming on mine which will kill me at renewal time.

    But, I give the guy credit for taking accountability.

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