Businessmen with Integrity, Part 1: The Asphalt Man

In this series, I’ll be sharing stories about local business men and business women who possess rich amounts of integrity.

It’s a trait I like to cultivate in my children and myself. I also look for it in the businesses I work with and make purchases from.

Problem is, quite often the businesses I have frequented or hired for services have fallen short of my expectations. So when a company or professional exceeds them, I like to tell everybody I know about them.

This summer we decided to have our driveway repaved. After four years of Wisconsin winters it was overdue.

I hired a man named Steve Smith of Badger Asphalt to do the work. He gave me a fair price, did an excellent job, and took some time to educate me about asphalt (this was actually more interesting than it sounds).

When a couple of the cracks Steve filled re-cracked, I gave him a call. He came back to my home with a smile on his face and retouched them all. When I called him back two weeks later to tell him the retouch wasn’t matching the rest of the driveway, he arrived at my home within the hour and fixed the problem. (Note: traditionally the crack filler goes on first because it’s shiny. Then the flat black liquid asphalt goes on top).

Again, Steve had a smile on his face, and was glad to do the work. He never complained, or asked me for more money. Steve did his job well, and he did it with integrity. I admire him for that.

If you happen to live in or around Madison, WI, and need your driveway repaved, I think you’ll be happy with Steve Smith of Badger Asphalt. Tell him Daddy Brain recommended you.

You can reach him at: 608-242-4089.

And remember, you are not alone …

The Speeding Ticket

A few weeks ago, I received a speeding ticket while traveling to work. 

Picture from http://www.herbiemania.com/

I was running late because one of my boys was up all night, so I was severely dragging my butt.

I had no intention of speeding. But my fatigue, coupled with listening to a Zig Ziglar audio book, created less than optimal conditions for me to pay attention to the speedometer.

I was clocked at 71 mph in a 55 mph zone. Doh!

You might be wondering, “What’s your point, Joey? People get speeding tickets every day.” Which is true, but the incident became a milestone moment for me — it became a lesson in integrity. Both seeing it in someone else, as well as showing some of my own.

When the policeman gave me my ticket, he did a great job. He was courteous, informative, knowledgeable and professional. He made the experience almost pleasant (except for the hefty fine and license points). Not what I expected.

As he handed me a ticket, I decided to thank him for his kindness. This was not a tactic to have him rip up the ticket; I knew that wasn’t happening. I was sincere. I wanted to give this man, who could have easily been a rude turd, some positive feedback on a job well done.

After I drove away, at a legal speed on cruise control, I realized the import of what had just happened.

I had made no excuses. The incident was my fault and I took full responsibility for my actions. I didn’t blame my son for his sleepless night. I held myself accountable and exercised some integrity (in a surprising way). Since the ticket, not once have I thought (or said), “that jerk, why’d he give me a ticket? Moron!” No, he was doing his job and holding me accountable for my actions.

The real point of the story has nothing to do with me. It’s about all of us. It’s about the choices we make, how they shape us and what kind of example we set for our kids.

If we can turn a speeding ticket into a positive experience, brimming with integrity, imagine what we can do with the rest of our lives. Whether you know it or not, your integrity is there. It’s just a question of if you’re listening when it speaks.

And remember, you are not alone…

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