Are You Ordinary - or Extraordinary? And How Do You Know?

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 0225085927

tractor trailerRecently, I ordered a file cabinet from (insert big box office supply store here) online.  It referenced an additional shipping fee, which I took to mean "it's big and heavy, so we are charging you more."

What I did not understand it to say was "we are having it delivered to you on a tractor trailer.

Because if I HAD gotten that message, I would have been able to say, "uh, we live on a windy, narrow gravel road in the woods and if you're longer than 26 feet, you cannot - I repeat, CANNOT - turn around.  Plus, part of the (gravel) driveway is on an incline bordering a lake, so if you misjudge at all, SPLASH

The freight forwarder called me a day in advance to let me know when they were coming;  I explained to him about the narrow gravel road, he said, "oh, don't worry, he's in a pup truck, no problem."

I kinda thought that meant it was a delivery van or something, so relieved, I went about my business, not giving it another thought until the driver called.  I asked him what kind of truck he was in and he said "Oh, I'm pulling a 28' trailer" - definitely beyond the 26' limit we can handle.   We talked about the road conditions, including the nearby washed out road, which would complicate things for him.

I told him I could cancel the order and order it locally (maybe), see if someone else could deliver in a smaller truck, but he just drawled, "oh, well, just let me see what I can do.  If necessary, I will get as close as I can and bring it to you on a hand truck."  

About 15 minutes later, I hear a truck, look out my office window and there is a big ole tractor trailer BACKING up to the house - he had backed down that entire narrow, windy, gravel my wildest imagination, I have no clue how he was able to do that.  I cannot do it in my car, that's all I'm sayin'.

Later, after telling a couple of friends about the amazing truck driving feat that took place in my driveway that afternoon, I mention it to my husband, who looks at me blankly and says, "I would be more amazed if he HAD NOT been able to do it.  That's what he does, honey, he's a truck driver."

I was a bit taken aback, but his comment made me think how different our responses were to the exact same level of service:  I was so impressed, I have recounted what the driver did a half dozen times, just told everyone.  My husband, on the other hand, didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary.

Whenever a client lauds my service or writes me an especially flattering reference, I always think to myself, "heck, I was just doing my job" so I guess I know what he's saying.

Still, my question is, "how do we know if we're ordinary -- or extraordinary?" 

How do you define it?


p.s.  If you're looking for extraordinary - or maybe just ordinary - service in  Alexandria, VA, let me know.  I may know someone.




Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
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  2. Gareth Ellzey 09/15/2011 06:44 AM
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Beverly Femia
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Hampstead, NC
Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are

Hi Susan,  congratulations on the feature.  It's a great story and a good example of how ordinary behavior on the the part of one person can make them extraordinary to the recipient.  I call those folks "ordinary Heroes?"

By the way, luck is pat of life and I do personally believe the good luck of one person can rub off on the folks that person touches.  Ah yes, that what's karma really means! 

Sep 14, 2011 04:21 AM #54
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Bev:  Hey, how are you?  Hope all is well for you in Wilmington...I love your concept of "ordinary heroes."   And here's to good karma!

Sep 14, 2011 04:26 AM #55
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Susan: I would have felt the same way about the situation that you did, considering backing up has always been a challenge for me! I think part of it is many of us have a problem accepting a compliment so we just say "Oh, I was just doing my job" rather than just acknowledging the awsome job we did and saying thank you. Carrie

Sep 14, 2011 05:36 AM #56
Francine Kianoff
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Los Angeles, CA

So true! A professional is someone who does their job with such competence that an outsider wonders how and the professional thinks "no big deal" - this is just how it is supposed to be done.  I like to work with professionals, and do my darndest to be one in my fields.

Sep 14, 2011 06:26 AM #57
Paula Brown
Results Lending - Austin, TX

I'm thinking of all the people who think they are extraordinary when in fact they are not even ordinary.  They are in fact just awful at their job.  Those who tend to place blame on all others involved in the transaction because they fail to keep up with the ever changing rules and regulations in our industries.  Seems like those are the ones I have been dealing with lately.  Really frustrating.  Great post that reminds us to step it up!

Sep 14, 2011 07:26 AM #58
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Good analogy.  Thanks for the post.  People always thank me for doing my job.  I tell them that is what I do.

Sep 14, 2011 07:49 AM #59
Kathy Strader
Memorial Staged Homes - Houston, TX

What's important is that our clients believe we are extraordinary, and they tell all their friends!

Sep 14, 2011 08:05 AM #60
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Wow, still that guy was a great truck driver with an above level skill set. You've told everyone now so be sure that your future clients would do the same!

Sep 14, 2011 08:48 AM #61
Sandi Logan
Gulf Coast Real Estate - Gulf Breeze, FL

This is a fabulous post and poses a great question - it is almost an inner feeling these days because so much time is spent giving kudos when we really dont want to or patting on the back when it really is just "doing their job" but here is my view on it - I was in the restaurant business forever (and ever Amen) as a General Manager of multi million dollar franchises and would always get upset when other managers would recognize employees for having the proper uniform on at shift meetings!! I mean...HELLO? That is what they are supposed to do!! You husband really had it right ~~ you do you job and do it to the best of your ability and no matter who is on the receiving end - THEY will be the ones that determine if you are ORDINARY or EXTRAORDINARY :)

Sep 14, 2011 10:45 AM #62
Robert Amato
Bob Amato of Empire Home Mortgage Inc - East Meadow, NY


 This is a classic expample of letting a professional do his job. He gets paid to perform the work, much like a Realtor or Mortgage Professional. I am sure that many times throughout your career you heard a story about someone who was not a professional and the deal died.

Sep 14, 2011 02:53 PM #63
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices


What a wonderful blog. I really enjoyed reading it. I find greatest pleasure watching masters work. Ehen people are highly skilled, whatchig them is a real pleasure.

And that's what yu saw. the guy was worth his money.

Sep 14, 2011 04:23 PM #64
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Susan,

Not every truck driver knows how to do this. I knew a guy, who rolled three big rigs down various steep mountain sides in one winter and that was just going straight. I was surprised that he somehow always scrambled out without severe frostbite or a broken neck or something.

Sep 14, 2011 05:06 PM #65
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Truck drivers amaze me - especially the guys who drive logging trucks in our mountains. A few weeks ago my son and I went in search of huckleberries, and looking at the hairpin turns on those mountains left me wondering how on earth they got those huge long trucks to bend around them.

What is really strange to someone like me who doesn't enjoy driving... My son has a friend who drives a log truck. For fun on the week-ends he loads his family into his own truck and takes them driving in the woods.

Sep 14, 2011 07:40 PM #66
Tanya Nouwens
RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

What a great story, Susan.  And what great introspection you show as well. I think it has everything to do with a person's expectations - both you and the trucker.  The other day, I sent an email to a client who has been looking for a Montreal condo in one particular building where condos rarely come on the market. I've been watching the market for him and so I was able to email him right away, advising him that the condo was priced right and likely wouldn't last based on x, y and z.  My husband thought that was amazing - that I was able to do that because I had been watching this particular market for my client, even though I didn't know when/if he'd be ready to bite the bullet.  To me, that's just my job - it's the expectation I have of myself since I made the commitment to my client to keep an eye on things for him.  Beauty is in the eye of the is extraordinary perhaps. 

Sep 15, 2011 01:44 AM #67
Erna Neal
The Viking Team, Realty - Winter Park, FL
A Knowledgable Central Florida Realtor

Susan, I love your story. Keep being extraordinary and keep telling this story. It certainly brought a smile to my face that the truck driver was able to manage that feat.

Sep 15, 2011 04:23 AM #68
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Carrie:  I am with you totally on the difficulty in accepting a compliment thing.

Francine:  Exactly - I like people who do their jobs well and think that it is how they are supposed to do it.

Paula:  Unfortunately, there is no shortage of those types of folks out there, that's for sure.

Gene:  That's my response - LOL - "It's what I do."

Kathy:  So true!

Lyn:  That's what we all strive for, right? 

Sandi:  I totally agree with you and am equally frustrated by what passes for acceptable service these days. \

Bob:  You are right.

Sep 15, 2011 06:01 AM #69
Rocky Dole
Revelation Real Estate - Maricopa, AZ

History is full of ordinary people that have done extraordinary things.  Many of them probably thought that they were just ordinary people.

Sep 15, 2011 07:53 AM #70
Bill Morrow
Keller Williams of Central PA - Mechanicsburg, PA
Bill Morrow, Associate Broker

We are all ordinary until such time we impress someone else.  To a fellow Eagle Scout being an Eagle Scout is what is expected of being a Boy Scout, but to a typical Boy Scout an Eagle Scout is quite an extrordinary accompishment.  As it goes in our professional lives as well.  Always strive to excel in your daily endevors and you will never amaze yourself, fail to excel and you will recognize your shortcomings.  You can always impress someone, make sure that someone is YOU!

Sep 15, 2011 08:31 AM #71
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Susan, like you I would be retelling this truck driver's feat as well. Enjoyed reading this post .

Sep 15, 2011 12:31 PM #72
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX

Susan, I found this on Bob Stewarts FB widget...go figure. I'm not sure how I missed it. I just wanted to say that response from your hubby would have floored me too. Mars and Venus...right? This post really talks to me. I could write a novelette back to you so I will have restraint.

Simply, I enjoyed it.

Thanks Susan,


Sep 18, 2011 06:53 PM #73
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Susan Haughton

Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.
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