Going the Extra Mile (Frequent Flier Style)

Blake Harris 06.18.2015

No matter what line of business you’re in (whether it’s explainer videos or nuclear reactors), it’s always recommended to go the “extra mile.” But what does this really mean? Should a company be putting additional quality into their work? Should they be placing additional emphasis on the customer experience? Hopefully these are already things that a company is doing. So, if that’s the case, it causes one to wonder: what exactly qualifies as above and beyond?

Well, like many business principles, there are no hard and fast rules to define the “extra mile.” It’s as much a philosophy as it is a technique. It’s that invisible commitment to doing the little things that, 99% of the time, go unnoticed. But, on occasion, examples of extra-mileness get noticed. And there was one that took place earlier this week—when a young boy lost his beloved stuffed animal at a Tampa airport—that provides a fun and heartwarming example of a lesson we can all benefit by incorporating into what we do.

It happened earlier this month, when a 6-year old boy named Owen Lake realized that he had lost his beloved stuffed tiger. Not only was this stuffed animal uniquely special to the boy, but it had been handmade by his aunt to resemble Hobbes (from the strip Calvin & Hobbes) and, because the creator of that comic has sworn of the licensing of his strip’s characters, this lost tiger truly was one of a kind.

After arriving in Houston, Owen’s mother frantically called the Lost & Found at Tampa International Airport, hoping that by some miracle that had safely recovered Hobbes. Following this call, the stuffed tiger was discovered near the children’s play area and soon delivered to Tony D’Auito, who manages the Airport Operations Center. Knowing that he now had in his hand this object that would fix everything in Owen’s world, he decided not only to return the stuffed animal, but to first go the extra mile…

D’Auito, as it turned out, had a coupon code to create a photo book at Walgreens, so he arranged for his colleagues to snap photos of the now-found Hobbes at various areas around the airport. The employees wound up having a lot of fun with the assignment and what resulted was a memorable, hardbound book that Luke and his parents were able to pick up during their return trip. Here are some highlights from that book…

 Hobbes 6

Hobbes 5

Hobbes 4

HObbes 3

Hobbes 2

Hobbes 1

Wow, what a nice move on the part of Tampa International Airport. Reminding us all that going the extra mile is often a fun, low-cost and memorable way to make someone else’s day.

Hobbes 7

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