Today I drove up to Utah State University to speak on a panel to the MBA students and then to be a judge for USUs annual Shark Tank business competition. This is an event I look forward to every year because I absolutely love the students up at USU! They are awesome students who are humble, hard-working, and have great attitudes. And the businesses that pitched tonight were fantastic! But the experience I wanted to share was something that happened after the event at USU on my drive back home.
My husband and son had driven up with me to watch the event at USU. On our drive back home tonight they were starving so we pulled off in Brigham City to go through the Arby’s drive-through. When we pulled up to the sign to order our food a man’s voice said “Welcome to Arby’s – I have to apologize because we are completely out of all of our roast beef.” At first we thought he was joking…I mean it’s Arby’s – how could they possibly be out of Roast Beef?! That’s like McDonald’s saying they ran out of hamburgers! Or Chick-fil-a saying they ran out of chicken! How could this be possible??? Arby’s had no roast beef???
We were starving so we begrudgingly ordered their turkey sandwiches. Still reeling from the fact Arby’s was out of roast beef, we pulled up to the pickup window and paid. After that the worker disappeared from our view…We sat for quite a while wondering what the heck was happening…by this point we were definitely annoyed – first they had no roast beef, and now they had us waiting forever!? Finally the worker came back looking completely stressed out. He leaned out the window and in the most apologetic, humble way he said, “I am really sorry your food is taking so long. Your fries are still a few minutes from being done. Can I get you a free milkshake or a free cookie to make up for everything? Cause I really am sorry.”
He was so kind to us, even though he was obviously frazzled with everything that was going wrong. His kindness immediately diffused any feelings of being annoyed that we’d been feeling. We drove away from the window feeling great about Arby’s all because of the way their worker treated us. It didn’t matter that they had run out of roast beef, even though that was the entire reason we’d come there. It didn’t matter that we had to wait a really long time to get our food. And that, my friends, bears witness to just how powerful it is when a person treats the customer kind.
~Amy Rees Anderson