My barber died. Joe Grimm was my barber for 20 years. I saw him a week before his death. I knew it was our last meeting, and Joe did too. Saying goodbye was tough. “You’d better get well soon or I’m going to get shaggy looking.” Joe grinned and then gave me the finger. Whenever I was a smart-ass, Joe gave me the finger.
Joe was irascible, but he is the subject of the greatest customer service story in the world.
One afternoon, Joe finished cutting an old man’s hair. The old guy struggled to get up, and Joe called me over to help. This customer was so frail he couldn’t get himself out of the barber’s chair. I helped Joe get him to his feet, and the gentleman crept across to the door inch by inch. Joe supported the old man until he got out the door. Joe walked him to his car and returned.
I asked, “How is that old guy getting home?”
“Oh, he can drive. He just can’t walk.” Joe chuckled. “Do you have some time?”
“I’m in no hurry.”
Joe waited for him to leave the parking lot, then hopped into his own car and followed the old man home. Alone in the store, I sat in the barber’s chair watching an episode of “Quincy.” A couple of customers stopped in, and I said Joe would return. They waited for a bit, then left.
Twenty minutes later Joe returned. “I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to that old guy. He shouldn’t be driving, but it’s all he has. I made sure he got home okay.”
We were quiet. Joe cut my hair, and I paid him and got into my car. I sat there for many minutes thinking about what I’d seen.
A year later Joe died of lung cancer.
The Grimm Trim is now owned by Cindy. Cindy visited Joe in hospice every day. Cindy does a nice haircut. I’ll go to the Grimm Trim for many years. If I don’t keep going to Joe’s shop, he will return from the grave and give me the finger.
Customer service defined by Joe Grimm, my barber.