The phrase “going the second mile” has found its way into our modern vernacular, but its roots are found all the way back in the first century. The Romans had conquered most of the Mediterranean world, and one of the marvels of their conquest was a vast system of super highways that they had built for travel to and from their conquered territories. There were more than fifty thousand miles of these Roman roads throughout the Empire, and at every single mile was a stone marker. These mile markers pointed directions, determined the distance to the next town as well as to Rome itself, and warned of dangers that might lie ahead. Hence the common phrase “All roads lead to Rome.”
By law, a Roman citizen or soldier could compel a subject from one of the conquered lands to carry his backpack, or load, for one mile, but only one mile. But then Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount. He said, Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. He called upon His hearers to do what was required of them — and then go further.
Chick-fil-A Goes The Extra Mile
Now, back to today.
Regardless of where you find yourself in business or life, there are certain expectations that people have: be nice, work hard, and say “please” and “thank you.” Those are just some of the things we should all practice because they are “the right things to do,” right? That’s the first mile. In retail, the first mile would be considered the “transaction.” Well, a few years ago, chicken giant, Chick-fil-A introduced its employees and Team Members to what they called “Second Mile Service.”
The First Mile
The first mile is to deliver hot, chicken sandwiches with two crucial pickles, crispy Waffle Fries, and the best hand-squeezed lemonade on the planet. That has become expected. It’s what their customers come for. But the Second Mile… That is what separates Chick-fil-A from any other restaurant or retailer. Chick-fil-A goes the extra mile. It is delightful and unexpected. It’s about making an extra effort to go beyond the transaction and enter into a relationship with their customers. It’s about helping mothers with children to their tables; engaging in real conversations and asking, “May I refresh your beverage?” It’s about meeting customers in their cars with an umbrella on a rainy day. And it is always, always “My Pleasure.”
The Second Mile
The second mile is about having a spirit of generosity and acting on the warm-hearted impulses we all have to make a difference in the lives of others. Chick-fil-A goes the extra mile, meaning living out the Golden Rule and putting others’ needs before their own.
When we look at each day as an opportunity to put others first, we are beginning to live in the second mile…
How are you going to go to the Second Mile this week?
Also, I would like a #1, spicy meal, with extra pickles and a diet coke, please.