The Story of Johnny Lexus
Five years ago Johnny was known as the annoying older guy who hung around the waiting area of the Hendrick Auto Lexus dealership in Charlotte and bothered the employees.
After receiving a number of complaints about him, Steve Strickland, the General Manager, invited Johnny into his office. He found out what his employees already knew. Johnny wasn't there to buy a car. He just wanted to have conversations and talk to people.
Steve learned that Johnny had worked in one of the towers of the World Trade Center but he wasn’t there on 9-11 because he had a doctor's appointment. Many of his friends died that day so Johnny and his wife moved to Charlotte for a fresh start.
One day Johnny brought his car to the dealership to get serviced and liked the coffee and atmosphere so much he came back to hang out. Steve told me that in listening to Johnny's story he realized that Johnny wasn’t looking to bother anyone. He was looking for a family.
Instead of telling Johnny to get lost and stay away from the dealership, Steve actually hired him to be part of their customer service team.
"What does he do," I asked?
"Anything we ask," Steve responded. "He does a little bit of everything."
At first the employees weren't happy with Steve's decision. But the more they worked with Johnny and learned his story the more they grew to love and appreciate him. He's become so popular and indispensable to the team and dealership he's now known as Johnny Lexus. No one even knows his real last name. Everyone just calls him Johnny Lexus.
Johnny Lexus has gone from the guy who no one wanted at the dealership to a beloved team member that represents the brand of the dealership... all because Steve Strickland took the team to hear Johnny's story.
It's a great lesson for all of us. Everyone we work with and everyone we meet has a story to tell. I've learned that amazing things happen when we get to know their story.
If you are a leader or member of a team, remember that everyone you work with is bringing their story to work. Your job is to get to know their story. When you know their story you will know them a lot better. When you know them better, you will be less likely to see them as annoying, difficult or negative and more likely to see them as someone who is searching to belong; to matter and to add value.
When you look for the good, and see the good in others you find the good in them and yourself.
Steve took the time to listen and look for the good in Johnny and found it and Johnny Lexus found his family.