The Spirit Of Service

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The Nazis before the United States entered World War II caused its representatives to be expelled from Germany and the occupied countries, and earned them a curious accolade from the German Government, which stated that "they were guilty of activities not in the best interests of the Great German Reich."

The largest free service performed by American Express is forwarding mail. The Paris office employs thirty mail clerks who handle up to 8,000 letters a day in the season. Many people give their address as "c/o American Express, Paris," who never bought a Travellers Cheque or so much as a sight-seeing coupon. Yet their letters are delivered or forwarded to them without charge.

The uniformed representatives of American Express will go to almost any lengths to help Travellers in difficulty. They are the shepherds and the tourists are their Rocks, and when a stray lamb is rescued there is the customary rejoicing.

Special services performed by these uniformed representatives go all the way from risking their lives to protect tourists who insist on frequenting underworld dives to the charming incident of an American Expressman who was summoned to one of London's fashionable hotels by an elderly lady on Christmas Eve.

"I'm all alone and have no friends in London" she said, "What can I do over Christmas?"

"Well, madame," he answered, "you can come and stay with my wife and me if you like.

The lady accepted his invitation and reported later that she had the merriest Christmas ever.

The principle of giving the utmost in service extends to goods forwarded by American Express. This stems from the earliest days of the company, when its messengers fought outlaws against great odds to protect the treasure in their care. Today it is usually less a question of battling bandits than of protecting perishable shipments; but, as we have seen, the same care is taken and the same initiative displayed as in the romantic early days.

It is this conception of supplying personal service which binds together the diverse activities of American Express and helps to create the loyalty and enthusiasm of more than 5,500 employees in twenty-nine countries throughout the world. These employees have an esprit de corps that would be enviable in an army and is amazing among the rank and file of a business organization.

When you find such loyalty, you must look for its inspiration. There seem to be two factors which here combine to produce it. One is the fine tradition of American Express; the other is the quality of its leadership.

Since it does not sell material objects but only personal service, American Express is in very real fact the sum total of the thousands of men and women who work for it. They have an enormous and jealous pride in their company because they realize that it is essentially created by themselves.

American Express grew up with the country. Its story is a piece of true Americana, for it succeeded by the peculiarly native virtues of integrity, adaptability, and individual initiative. It has always been ready to serve the American people and their government, and it has frequently done so without compensation.

When dollar shortages are choking the arteries of international commerce, the American tourist plays a vital role in the economies of all free nations. According to an official publication of E.C.A., money spent by American Travellers in Europe in 1949 amounted to more than one third of the total merchandise exports of the western European countries to the United States. This sum will be greatly increased by the record number of tourists who went abroad in 1950. This forcefully indicates the great importance of the role which travel abroad plays in meeting Europe's dollar deficit and in easing thestrain on American taxpayers for Marshall Plan aid.

Though travel abroad increased greatly in 1950; it has nowhere reached its potential based on pre-war figures. It is estimated that if this potential were realized, an additional £500,000,000 to £900,000,000 would be spent abroad, and that would mean a total of nearly 15,000,-000,000 earned dollars for European countries by 1957.

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What next? Animals and Pets

Animals and Pets

Animals always require special care, and American Express handles a great many animals. The largest elephant in the world was delivered to the circus in 1950, just in time for opening night. The traffic in shepherd dogs from Germany is heavy. In the first three months of 1950, 180 dogs were shipped from Bremen alone. They had to be watched and exercised all the way over.

One of these animal shipments nearly cost American Express a good man. A male and a female tiger arrived by ship from the great Hamburg zoo. Stephen Tugwell, who was then master of transportation, and his assistant, Richard Broomhead, were at the dock to meet them. A large cage was hoisted from the hold and lowered to the dock, swaying wildly as the furious animals hurled themselves against the bars. As it came to rest on the dock, Tugwell consulted the manifest. "You are to ship the male to the St. Louis zoo and the female to Detroit," he directed Broomhead.

His assistant looked... see: Animals and Pets

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