This is an article I first wrote 24 years ago about customer service, my son, and the national pastime. As it is now baseball season, I am pleased to re-publish the article once again this month.
I often receive my best training in customer service in the most unlikely situations.
My 6-year-old son, Taylor, had been pressuring me for weeks to take him to a baseball game. At the time, I was still on strike as a major league baseball fan. Hence, I decided to take him to see the local team play in the College Baseball Regional Championships.
The game was terrific. It had all the elements that have made baseball our national pastime: great hitting, exciting fielding, and a late-inning comeback by the home team. In fact, the home team won the game.
Taylor thoroughly enjoyed the game except for one aspect. He had brought his glove to the game just in case a foul ball happened to drift in our direction. With each pitch, he leaned forward in anticipation of snagging a souvenir ball.
Unfortunately, not a single ball was hit our way.
After the final out, we weaved our way out of the bleachers toward our car in the parking lot. As we reached the stadium exit, we passed an elderly stadium attendant. He appeared to be either a university alumnus or maybe just a fan of the game who worked the gate to earn a free ticket. As the crowd pushed out onto the street, the old gent stood by the exit gate, minding his own business.
When we walked by, the attendant abruptly reached down and grabbed Taylor’s glove hand as if my son was concealing contraband in his mitt. “Son, have you got a baseball in that glove?” he asked suspiciously. Taylor was startled by the stranger and replied, "No," in a soft whisper.
At that moment, the attendant reached into his pocket, pulled out a baseball, and dropped it into Taylor’s empty glove.