Thursday, May 5, 2011

Too Much Time in Chicago

Well, I am getting pretty familiar with Chicago's O'Hare airport these days as I just spent the last 3 days hosting our trade association meeting in Chicago.  The last speaker of the day had a great topic about creating experiences for your customers (more on that) and started his talk with a couple of interesting stories.  I found them fascinating and thought I would share them.  My apologies if you know the ending!

Easy Eddie with Capone Two StoriesTHE FIRST STORY: Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.” He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.
To show his appreciation, Capone paid Eddie very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie also got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.
Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocities that went on around him. Eddie had a soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.
One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al “Scarface” Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great.
So, he testified. Two weeks before Capone was to be released from prison,  Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still.

Butch OHare 207x300 Two StoriesTHE SECOND STORY: World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.
As he was returning to the ship he saw something that turned his blood cold: a squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.
There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber’s blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch’s daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.
This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.
His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So, the next time you find yourself at O’Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch’s memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It’s located between Terminals 1 and 2.
Butch O’Hare was “Easy Eddie’s” son!

OK, I thought it was interesting.  The point was how we never know how our actions will affect people or the future.  I particularly love Easy Eddie's poem.  Our talk progressed to how in today's market people are looking for an experience.  Well, it immediately made me think about my good friends Bill Lundeen, Jeff King, Keith Holtan, and of course my experiences guiding clients for fish.  Guiding turns out to be the ultimate in providing your customer with an experience.  Because one can never count on the fish cooperating, the experience is what saves the day.  His point was that successful businesses today provide that experience in a number of ways from buying a scoop of minnows to selling transformers.  It was a great lesson.  I did get all of my electronics connected and buttoned up.  With opener a week away I am scrambling to get the boat out for it's 2011 maiden run and a chance to do a dress rehearsal.  This week will be a mad dash to get line replaced, lures sorted, boat compartments cleaned, and everything polished up.  I'll let you know how that goes as it is looking pretty interesting. 


Duane said...

"Your Name"
You got it from your father, it was all he had to give.
So it's yours to use and cherish, for as long as you shall live.
If you lose the watch he gave you, it can always be replaced.
But the black mark on your name, son, can never be replaced.
It was clean the day you took it, and a worthy name to bear.
When he got it from his father, there was no dishonor there.
So make sure you guard it wisely, for when all is said and done.
You'll be glad the name was spotless, when you give it to your son.
Author Unknown
I read this to a judge, a month before the birth of Eric's son.
Sorry, but your blog entry made me think of this.....

Dave Anderson said...


That's pretty cool as I get more philosophical the older I get. As you know all too well, it's the only thing you leave with. Thanks for sharing