“I’m a soldier of service,” he said proudly when I thanked him for help in locating an item in the Home Depot near my home. I smiled and asked him what that meant. “It means I am here in service of my customers,” he replied. “My job is to quickly get them whatever they need.” I thanked him and walked to the cash register recalling my soldiering days.


Like McCain I was not a soldier; I was a warrior. I served in combat as the commander of an Army reconnaissance ranger unit. Think of Army Rangers as sort of the Army version of the Navy SEALS. In fact, I did a few joint operations with the Navy SEALS.


Ordinary soldiers do their assigned duty. They carry out orders and, in a manner of speaking, “quickly get whatever is requested.” Warriors, while respecting the chain of command, go beyond routine duty to do whatever it takes to give their absolute best. They are mission-focused, not job-focused. They zero in on their purpose, not just their chore.


John McCain died Saturday. He was a warrior. He took his military role as a Navy commander with deep dedication and amazing bravery. But, he was also a warrior of service. He gallantly served his country as U.S. senator. This blog post is dedicated to his life and the inspiration it brought to all around him.


We have plenty of soldiers of service today–people who proudly do what the customer requests. But, we need warriors of service. Warriors of service bring joy and delight, not just help and assistance. Warriors of service deliver unexpected surprise, not just plain old good service. They think outside the expectation; they boldly explore the untrodden terrain of service enchantment.


Warriors of service camouflage any unavoidable unpleasantries in their customers’ paths so only the best of service shines bright. Wait is carefully managed when it cannot be shortened; hassle is decorated with personality when necessary rules dictate some modicum of bureaucracy. Customers do not remember service providers that simply meet their needs—even if done with speed, accuracy and warmth. Our memory bank today only records the best, brightest and pleasantly unexpected experiences. And, if those memories are of the unique and special, we play them back for others over the backyard cyber fence!


Serve your customers like Senator John McCain served his country. Show your customers the McCain integrity, bravery and dedication. Be a role model to all the colleagues around you; be a shining light to all the customers you encounter.


Image: Via DaveDavidsoncom at Pixabay.