Sunday, June 21, 2009

Look who is talking about responsibility

While traveling around each day I bounce in to different people. Today while taking the taxi to the Changi I met up with an interesting taxi driver. He was a tall, Chinese, middle aged man. As soon as I got into the Taxi I said "I want to go to Changi" and then he asked "what was the terminal?" I replied, “I think Terminal 1...but let me check the ticket and confirm", so while I was digging my bag to get the ticket out. He told me “Tell me the air line la, I might be able to tell the terminal", as soon I had found the ticket and told him, “its Emirates Airlines and Terminal 1”. Then this guy started to explain to me about the airlines and the terminal relationships. I never new anything like that, although I had been to Changi a few times.

Then he explained to me why he asked for the airline, I was utterly surprised by this explanation. He told me even if the passenger has mistakenly told him a wrong Terminal number; it was the RESPONSIBILITY as the taxi driver to use his knowledge in the best possible way to help the passenger to get to the right terminal. Now I thought for a moment and was thinking was it “an extended self imposed responsibility” that this guy was talking about. Then I was trying to map to my job. If customer gives me a wrong requirement which will be a hindrance to him and he cannot foresee, isn’t it my professional responsibility to go that extra mile to make the relevant suggestion with the best of my knowledge?, so for my profession I thought the answer was an yes, This led me to analyze my own thinking process. I was thinking at least for a few minutes why did consider this was unnecessary RESPONSIBILITY of a taxi driver. Then I realized that the mistake that I made was that I did not consider that the taxi driving was a professional occupation, within myself I felt ashamed, after seeing the infamous three wheel drivers around this place , I had grown up never thinking that this was a profession which has a set of ethics and RESPONSIBILITIES.

This was the point at which I realized why the Singapore Taxi drivers stood out. A level of service I had never found in any of the other countries I had been to, it’s not about luxury but a service known for its highest level of trust and discipline.

Then he inquired from me whether if I was reading the paper while I was here. I said I didn’t get to read any local Singapore news papers and was only checking the international news websites last few days. He then related to me the story of a taxi driver who “threw” out two ladies from the taxi in the middle of the night in a jungle. This sounded weird, in Singapore standards by a jungle; I think he might probably be refereeing to a patch of road with trees on both sides of it. Still he was really angry with his fellow taxi driver to have done this and bought discredit to his profession. He explained to me that the taxi driver, when in a position where he is unable to find the place to drop the passenger, he should have called a friend to get the location information or at least should have dropped the two ladies at a safer location at a highway or a mall.

He was so proud of his company, when he said the taxi company sacked the driver and his license was removed. He then told me if this was not done people will start to assume “he can do, I can do, and we can do” and it will spread like a virus and become an accepted practice”!!! Then he hit the nail on the head when he told a Chinese proverb and translated it to English which was something similar to “Kill one to stop hundred”. I usually hate to hear proverbs talking about killing but in this context I should confess that I liked it.

No comments: