FIT@50 / Week 82: Custom(er) Service

FIT@50 / Week 82
Custom(er) Service

While this week’s FIT@50 arrived a day late, it was also the article’s motivation. Max and I flew back home to Dallas late last night, and after a few days away from everyone, I decided the welcome backs were more important than the writing.

I make no secret that I believe in old-school American values. That particularly applies to the way you treat people. That of course, transcends to the way you conduct your business—both personal and professional.

Liliana Hart and I have chronicled our trials with the despicably unethical home builder, and both look forward to writing very candidly about who he is and the facts of his less-than-legal accounting and accountability. Our hope would be that our house would be the last house he’d be contracted to build.

But, we were blessed to recently sell that home and are grateful that it will bless another family. This of course brings me back on track about placing value in the values we hold dear.

People seem to always find a way to interact with Max. His friendly, whole-face smile disarms most, and his energetic enthusiasm for everything from muddling through the TSA screening process to ordering a NOLA Lucky Dog attracts positive attention from others.

We like Southwest Airlines for our every week and a half flights back and forth between Dallas and Louisiana. It’s a casual flight, and although I’m not a big fan of competitive cattle-call seating, the one hour and fifteen minute flights whiz by.

What also makes them our favorite carrier is the way their employees seem to enjoy being there. Southwest Airlines has a storied past about the way they bucked the traditionally rigid airline business model to become the only major carrier to have not filed bankruptcy, merged and consistently posted profits for the last 43 years.

They empower people—their employees.

This was evident Friday as Max and I boarded and the pilot immediately greeted us. Max’s usual smile was on display as he returned the hello. The pilot invited Max into the cockpit. Max hesitated. The pilot asked again with an even warmer welcome.

Max was invited to sit in the giant captain’s seat while the instrument panel popped alive with brilliant lights and buttons. His face brightened even more as he repeatedly mouthed, “WOW.”

After a fun, casual chat and a few pictures, we headed back to our seats. Immediately, I tweeted the picture of Max with his new friend and tagged @SouthwestAir. Their top-notch public relations team quickly responded and sent a direct message to my account thanking me and asked for a flight confirmation to thank the pilot and crew.

By the time we deplaned, the pilot told Max good-bye. He shook my hand and said, “Thanks Brother. I appreciate the good word over Twitter.”

Talk about custom, customer service!

While it may seem to be a promo for Southwest Airlines (it is a little) it’s more about an appreciation for a company that started and still values their core values.

Their company values include:
Live the Southwest Way
– Warrior Spirit
– Servant’s Heart
– Fun-LUVing Attitude

They came through last night and made a sweet boy who already flies often, an even bigger fan of the friendly skies. They did good.

Do Good,
Scott

FIT@50 / week 77


FIT@50 / week 77
It Just Is:
Ever notice when you’re questioning one of the kids about something, they stick to one reply, “It just is,” like a politician testifying before Congress. Chat with the youngster long enough and you’ll find yourself under a barrage of questions. To which you’ll default, “It just is.”

This week has been extra busy and stressful in the household. Leah has a huge book deadline, kids are in full school swing, I had a flight, and then a flight and then a flight to do everything from a tax meeting to pick up Max before heading back to Dallas.

Leah posted to social media about how great I’d been this week. My first reaction was “it just is.” As in it’s what you do for family, and then I pounded my chest in the sport of manly points earnings.

But her post didn’t stop there. More important than all of the nonstop get and go was that it was Leah’s dad’s birthday. He’d passed away a few years back.

I was busy out of state and was floored when I read her post thanking me for being there to pick up the slack while she focused on meeting her deadline. She also posted, as she’s said before how she wished he and I had known each other.

I felt like a heel. Sure it’s easy to get on a plane, and shake a few hands, and sign papers and be here and there and anywhere whether it’s teaching the boys how to freestyle, or picking one up after band.

What I should’ve come through on was remembering it was her dad’s birthday and the way it devastates her each year.

We started an outreach about a month ago for divorced folks, single parents and remarried couples working to make it work this time around. First marriages are tough. They fail over 50% of the time. Subsequent marriages fail about 63% and fail exponentially greater as they go.

What I’ve learned as I’ve grown FIT@50 is that communication is key. But there’s more to it than waiting for the other person to stop talking, so you can start. Active listening is a better term. While I tuned it to the task list of what to do, I should’ve sought her heart’s beat for the list of how she feels.

Well, her book’s almost done, the kids are in class and at least one little boy is happy to be away from his other Louisiana home near the Gulf of Mexico. As for me, I’m still learning. Maybe we all should keep an ear out for each other’s internal voice.

Do Good,

Scott

FIT@50 / week 70

FIT@50 / week 70
White Flag:

The white flag is usually associated with surrender. I’m not about to wave that sucker. This week my flag has been the Irish’s color of kelly green. Though it’s a bit exhausting.

I’ve had a great time chronicling Liliana Hart and my adventures across Europe – If you’ve just awaken, check hashtag ‪#‎EuroDash16‬

I’m going to minimize this post because I have to wear a shirt and regular pants for tonight’s event, and someone has to get the ironing done. I’ll post Day 16 tonight after we return from the River dance. There might even be furios feet videoed since it’ll be Liliana Hart‘s first time experiencing this fantastic art form.

Since it’s been awhile since I’ve seen my sweet boy, and you’ve been so kind to mention him, I thought I’d add a little Max to the mix.

Do Good,
Scott Silverii

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FIT@50 / week 69

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FIT@50 / week 69

Price of Pizza:
This week while in Paris, Liliana Hart and I took off on the city in a series of pedicab driven adventures. To say the experience was anything less than epic would be an understatement.
 
But at what price?
 
I’m always talking with her and our kids about situational awareness. The boys think it’s funny, while the girls think I’m trying to make the junior high boys afraid of them (maybe both.)
 
After a lift to the Tour Eiffel, we looked down upon an enchanted city filled with lights and people and noise and life. Just below us was a watching station for fans of the Euro semifinals soccer match between Wales and Portugal. I’d never experienced crowd energy like that before. It was like 10 Mardi Gras combined.
 
As we headed back to the suite, we were instantly caught up in thousands of fanatic supporters of the soccer match. Unable to get back to the room, we ducked into a pizza joint for a late supper.
 
We were stopped at the door by a tough looking guy wearing a black jacket with an armband that read Security. Seriously, for pizza?
 
Facing the door as all good cops do, I watched the crowds inside and out. I suddenly felt less for wanting pizza and more for escaping the scene. November 13, 2015 was there. Always there in my mind as we carted around in a beautifully free-moving environment. The 130 victims of that night’s coordinated terror attacks weighed heavily upon my heart as I choked down the first but only slice of pizza.
 
I was fixated on the tough guy at the door, as well as the hundreds of riot squad special police lining the avenues with body armor and machine guns ready to respond.
 
It wasn’t nervousness that had stricken me. It was a wash of grief for those people sitting in a cafe just like us, and the revelers whose only care was for the score of a well-played game, and the many others who just wanted to “kick it” across Paris like we did.
 
Our waiter was an older man who watched the streets as much as he watched his customers. We didn’t mind the delays in service. I’m sure it was all he could do to focus on just doing his job.
 
But it’s just a pizza place.
 
I’m never at ease. I watch the lighthearted videos we do on facebook and I’m amazed that when we’re in a public place how my head is constantly scanning back and forth. I can’t help it or want to change it. It’s what I was trained to do–I watch and observe, so I can react and protect if needed.
 
I sat up straight as a crowd jammed into the door’s threshold. Angry shouts in languages I didn’t understand came clear into the small cafe. The tough looking guy pitted himself against the aggressive few.
 
I have to admit, my gut dropped. But immediately, I was coming out of my chair to help that tough guy, who suddenly, with fists slamming against his face, didn’t seem tough enough.
 
My thoughts weren’t about my safety, or even to stay there for Liliana. My heart leapt so hard from my chest that whether it was a repeat terror attack the day after July 4th or just hungry customers pissed about being denied access, I knew the line that tough guy had committed to standing.
 
Almost a year since retirement, but I know that having a heart for serving others is something that never retires. I also now know that the French Police are much faster than I ever could’ve been. Before my butt left the seat, or Liliana even realized I was leaving, officers snatched the attackers from the door and whisked them away.
 
I watched the tough guy rub the red whelps across his face. I knew the feelings of taking licks for something having nothing to do with you other than making a choice to stand for something or someone else. I wanted to tell him that although battered, he did a good job protecting the customers in the cafe.
 
When it was time to head back to the suite, I led us through a rowdy crowd of thousands who jumped and screamed and lit fires and raced cars along the avenue. The mood was degrading fast. I swung and swayed with Liliana in tow and tried my best to avoid contact with anyone, but inevitably times came to bulldoze the drunks and just plain stupid for the sake of getting us out of that situation.
 
Finally back in the room, I showered off the grime of getting us back. and it was then that I allowed myself to relax, and the emotions came crashing over me as I showered.
 
Those poor, innocent people along the magical streets of Paris who only wanted to enjoy the mystique of this city. What makes them different than us, if for only by the day on a calendar.
 
What is the price of pizza? It gets much more costly as fear, anxiety and violence are piled upon the pepperoni and cheese. Those feelings are foreign to me, but this week they became a very real reminder of the reality of our world.
 
Do we forgo the pizza for the sake of comfort? No. Not as long as there are good people willing to stand in the gap. Those good people are us. The cafe chef, the customers, and yes, even the tough guy in the door.
 
Do Good,
Scott
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FIT@50 / week 65

Family Vacation
FIT@50 / week 65
It’s Because:
Guys, this week has been so incredible. It was actually after 11:00pm before Liliana Hart reminded me it was Friday and that I’d forgotten to post my FIT@50. That’s just how amazing this week has been.
This was our first family vacation since Disney last Christmas. We swam, BBQ’d, go-carts, arcades, stayed up watching movies, and ate bacon late at night (don’t ask).
It was also our anniversary (I remembered)
Memories from my childhood were so strong this week as I watched the kids stumble sleepily into the kitchen for breakfast, or sprint along the sun-soaked boardwalk for the beach, or snuggle next to each other beneath cool sheets for a movie.
I reveled in how much fun we had although there were so many different personalities, interests and expectations. I also wondered how Liliana Hart and I pulled it off.
Then I looked back at a post my friend Todd Prevost shared of a picture our SWAT unit took in 2003 at the completion of one of the most grueling trainings I’d ever attended. It hit me.
I realized “It’s because.”
It’s because in my youth, my dad would teach the school year and then take a summer job so he could treat our mom and us seven kids to a family summer vacation.
It’s because my mom valued what was vital at the time and stayed home to raise seven kids despite barely scraping by on our dad’s school teacher salary. Of course back then parents didn’t treat their kids as their friends or equals, so lack of money was never discussed in our presence – focus on family was.
It’s because in my career I’d known people who valued protecting families, not just theirs. They would commit to duty on nights, weekends and holidays to ensure other people’s families were as safe as their own.
It’s because I worked in difficult assignments with amazing public servants who although loved their families, always set their personal satisfactions aside for the sake of allowing others the time off to share special occasions with family.
It’s because even after being divorced for almost 20 years, and losing my way, that an amazing woman found something deep inside of me that she felt was worth loving – my desire for family.
Do Good,
Scott

 

Common Sense, Ain’t So Common

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Common Sense, Ain’t So Common

So this week I had to get my new bike from Louisiana back to Dallas. Simple, right?

No problem I told my wife, I’ll drive it there.

The small voice in the back of my skull whispered, “You’ve not been on a bike in over 20 years.” I dismissed that little voice.

It then said, “It’s about 525 miles, and it’s already 3:00 pm,” pesky voice spoke out. So what I thought.

That little voice tried again, “It’s getting cool out and you don’t have the proper gear.” I’m tough, I shrugged.

“Suit yourself,” that voice jeered and wasn’t to be heard from again.

So I wedged the half-faced helmet over my head and grabbed a borrowed jacket to head out on my maiden voyage. About 10 miles west of my start, I felt the first sting of what would become millions of sharp-as-arrow rain drops. The helmet did nothing to block their assault.

Soaked to the bone, I slowly swung around the longest exit ramp in the world and eased onto a water-logged gravel shoulder. The new rain suit I should’ve had ready was shoved under a ton of junk in the saddle bag.

Over the next 515 miles, I eventually dried off once the storms ceased. And the little voice’s weather report came to mind as it grew steadily cooler until the uncovered tips of my half-fingered gloves felt the chill.

I had also borrowed a full-face helmet that was two sizes too small. Out of desperation, I squeezed my noggin inside that shell and drew relief that I’d escaped the wind-whipping massacre that an 85 mph average brought.

Over eight hours, a Snickers and a Milky Way bar later, I sent my wife the most treasured message of our entire marriage, “Open Garage Door”

I parked the bike and eased into the bedroom without much more than smiles and groans. She just looked at me like an intruder had invaded our home. I couldn’t have been more proud at that moment for having just completed the adventure. Not because it was over, but despite the sensible alternatives, I set my mind to something and no matter how uncomfortable it was at times, I persevered.

The last thing I heard was her saying goodnight. But then I listened through the buzzing of my ears, and heard it again. It was that same small voice from earlier in the day.

I tensed for the taunting I told you so.

Instead, it laughed, “Good journey, dude. I knew you could do it.”