This morning the nice lady at the counter, at a local fast food establishment, handed me a ticket and told me I was number 68. When I go to Wendy’s or Quiznos, they ask me my name and call out my name when the order is read. At Wendy’s or Quiznos, I am Joe, not number 68, except for those few times when there’s more than one Joe, in which case I announce that I am Thomas Jefferson. I’m always a little bummed that the lady just writes down Thomas without even a smile. However, today I was told I was number 68. I was handed a cup for coffee and told to go fill it myself, which I did obediently and took a seat. Looking around the nearly empty room there were three older gentlemen, probably retired, and one man with the bearing and demeanor of an elf right before a full day in Santa’s workshop. Behind them there were not 64 other people. It was a quiet place this morning, as it is most mornings.
I’m surprised how quickly my order comes as a nice lady walks around the counter with the tray of meal number four, which is some combination eggs on a biscuit with a hash brown. (Don’t tell my wife, I’m supposed to be on a diet.) I thought about what it felt like to be number 68. I don’t like the feeling of 68. I think I deserve to be ranked higher than that, maybe at least 25 or 30. I remember in 2016 when the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys gave my son Mike his nationally ranked top 10 under 40 award, and I wonder if I would have been as excited if he was 68 under 40. When I think of Mike as a lawyer, I usually think of him as being number one. He is one fine lawyer, and I am proud of him. When the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys gave him the award, they never told us how he ranked among the ten so who knows maybe he is number one. He is in my book.
I also wonder if this approach would work for my law firm marketing. I might put something on my webpage like, “Come on in, we will treat you like number 68”. Probably not, I want you to be number one. Here’s my guarantee to you. Come into my office. I will put everything else away. I look will you in the eyes. I will listen to you, and you will be number one. Promise.