Lessons from a Cab Ride

The Barometer needed a cab to get from the hotel to the airport.  There were no cabs in sight but there was a long line of guests waiting. The desk valet said, “I can get you a cab.”  He made a call and three minutes later a cab arrived.  The Barometer gave the desk valet a tip as he loaded her suitcase into the cabin.

Once in the cab, the driver told the Barometer, “There was no need to tip him.  I take care of him.”  The Barometer was confused and said so.  The cabbie said, “I pay him for getting me customers.”  The industrious, albeit graftifying cabbie, explained that he paid the desk valets at all of the hotels in that area because then he did not have to go to the airport and sit in the queue.  He added, “I pay him.  He gets me customers.  You pay me and tip me.  God sees this and I get more desk valets and more customers.  God helps us when we work hard.”

The Barometer too is convinced that God helps us when he work hard, but is not sure about the graft thing.  In fact, I should have had the cabbie take a look at Exodus 23: 8: “And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.”  Or Deuteronomy 16:19″ Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.”

During the 30-minute drive to the airport, the Barometer listened to the cabbie’s reasoning as to why God loves a bribe.  The Barometer witnessed an impenetrable  monologue.  No one could break through such a barrier of words and rationalizations on how blessed we are in a world of bribes.

AS we drove by the cab queue at the airport, with hundreds of cabbies waiting their turn for the next passenger, he pointed and said, “Fools!  I’ll have three fares by the time they get one.”

At the end of the lecture/ride, the Barometer asked the cabbie for a receipt, and he said, “I’ll give you two receipts.  One is for this ride.  The other is blank for you to submit as an extra expense to your employer for, just make something up — like  a cab ride to dinner.”

The Barometer stood and watched in wonder as the cabbie drove away — back to his circle of hotels and his agents who work their front doors for him.  The Barometer never got the chance to ask the cabbie, “Do you have any idea what I do for a living?”

The Barometer has  the blank cab receipt — it is now immortalized.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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