Jason Millard had that opportunity. As a pro golfer, there would have been nothing more exciting than to have had the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Open golf tournament.
Jason had that opportunity. And he gave it away.
Jason was playing in a 36-hole qualifying tournament in Tennessee, and he played well enough to make the U.S. Open field that was to take place just a couple weeks later at Pinehurst in North Carolina. Despite qualifying for this major tournament, Jason didn’t feel right. He wasn’t certain, but he thought that his golf club may have touched the ground in a sand trap – a 2-stroke penalty in the world of golf. He was not sure he did it, and nobody was around to confirm that he did or didn’t ground the club.
After the round, he asked a rules official what to do, and the rules official said it was up to Jason.
For days, Jason continued to practice for this glorious opportunity at the U.S. Open, but his stomach, his nerves, his inner feelings kept eating at him. He wasn’t sure if he had grounded the club, but what if he had done so? If he had, he should have been penalized two strokes and not qualified.
As he began the long drive to the Open on tournament week, about an hour into the drive, he knew he couldn’t continue. It was that one potential thing he might have done wrong that stopped him; whether he grounded the club or not would never have been proven on Twitter or television, never confirmed or denied by a playing partner.
It was all on him.
He decided to call a penalty on himself, and he was disqualified.
Sometimes doing the right thing should occur because it’s the right thing to do – even if there’s short-term pain involved. To be great at customer service, you need to do the right thing – even when nobody is looking over your shoulder, nobody is listening in on your call, nobody is evaluating you at that moment.
Ethics and great customer service go hand-in-hand. They both involve integrity and trust.
Do the right thing, even if nobody is looking.