Life Lessons at the Baggage Claim

He greeted us with a smile and a luggage cart. Twenty minutes later he left us with a lasting impression. The best leaders are people who know how to be servants. On January 23rd, my assistant Kaylene and I flew into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for several speaking engagements. After an exhausting day of traveling, we landed and discovered that the wheel had been busted off my luggage. Not surprisingly, the airline showed zero concern about this. Customer service is hard to come by these days. We collected our bags and turned to head towards the rental car shuttle. It was at that moment that we met Kelton Strayhand.



Everybody knows that skycaps make their money on tips. We expect them to quickly get us from point A to B, drop our stuff and rush back to help the next customer. Kelton shattered that stereotype for us. He was extremely friendly as we walked over to the location for the shuttle pick-up, proudly informing us about the highlights that Arizona has to offer. We discovered that we would have to wait a bit for the shuttle, so I handed him a tip and assumed he would be on his way. He looked at us and said, “I’m not gonna just leave you here! No sir, no way. I’m gonna finish my job! Some people drop you on the curb and go off to grab more tips. Not me. I’m waiting until that shuttle comes and loading your luggage onto the bus.” Impressive. He had his tip; he could have just left at that point.  The look of surprise was evident on our faces. He turned to Kaylene and said, “They call me a Skycap, but I call myself a Customer Service Representative”. He proceeded to tell us that he is a “preacher’s son”. With pride, he explained that by watching his father he learned that, “If you can serve people, then you can lead them.” The more he talked the more impressed we became. “I call it frequency”, he said. “I make a point to smile at everybody and wish them a nice day. Sometimes they don’t smile back, but I don’t let that bother me. You see, I’ve discovered that most of the time I smile, they smile, and on it goes…frequency…they keep passing it on to others.” As the shuttle pulled up and he loaded our bags, I handed him an extra $20 bill.  As a Youth Motivational Speaker I spend my life talking to teens about doing the right thing, being the best they can be and being a role model. I travel approximately 250,000 miles a year and I’ve seen the best and the worst that the airline industry has to offer. Kelton was refreshing, inspiring and impressive — a true leader. This guy excels at his job and is a role model for everyone he comes in contact with. I hope our paths cross again and that his story encourages you to go above and beyond, taking pride in everything you do.

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Author:Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker

Youth Motivational Speaker & Teen Life Coach. Since 1992, Jeff Yalden has been mesmerizing audiences with his engaging style and passion. Jeff is a story-teller that every where he speaks, he guarantees he is real and in the moment, perfect for every audience. He is one of a kind. He's interactive and nobody pours as much energy and passion into their programs that Jeff does. Guaranteed, Jeff will be a defining moment and a highlight of your students lives.

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