Human to human: Celebrating a life

From the experiences of one of our own:

 

I may cry easily, but I don’t cry for no reason. And this morning, I had a good reason.

Flipping through the WSJ, I paused at this page commemorating Jack Crawford Taylor, the founder of Enterprise Holdings, after his passing over the weekend. As many large companies do these days, Enterprise had issued a message from the company, expressing its respect and gratitude for the man and his legacy.

 

But unlike all of those other messages, this one felt different.

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“Thank you, Jack.
Nearly 60 years ago, after serving your country in the skies over the South Pacific, you came home to start a business. You based it on a simple philosophy: ‘Take care of your customers and employees first, and the profits will follow.’
With seven cars, a second mortgage, and a big dream, you founded a company that today is the industry leader. In the process, you left a legacy of opportunity for tens of thousands of your grateful colleagues, and a legacy of generosity in the communities we serve.
You taught us that success lies in getting the little things right. 
That working hard and having fun go hand in hand. 
That great things happen when we listen… to our customers – and to each other.
So, thanks, Jack. For everything.
With affection and respect from the men and women of Enterprise Holdings.”
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It was short but dense, like a mini-loaf of buttery pound cake—made from a few simple ingredients but loaded with unexpected richness. In just eight sentences, I was filled with a number of hard-hitting impressions about the man and his company, and an overwhelming duality of life and loss for a total stranger. Each sentence stood on its own, and when brought together, each one’s power was tenfold.

It felt like every word was chosen to reflect Taylor’s legacy. Not only did his life lessons strike a chord with me, but so too did the attention paid to smaller details—speaking to Taylor rather than about him, referencing colleagues instead of employees, and mentioning communities they serve, not do business in. Such careful word choices exemplify the broader motivation driving the man’s life—that people are what matter, and that people are who will determine your success.

 

And then for me, the crescendo was in the last line: “So, thanks, Jack. For everything.”

So simple. So heavy. So utterly human.

 

And I think therein lies the beauty of this short, but oh-so-sweet piece—its humanity. With such a poignant tone, it’s easy to forget that this message is coming from a corporation and directed to its founder; rather, it feels more like from a son to a father, in which he finally voices all of those things that he always felt in his heart but could never put the right words to or find the perfect moment to say. But this is that moment—that rawness, that emotion, that honesty, that pure connection between people.

 

And through this, Enterprise connected to me. Person to person.

Not company to consumer. Person to person.

 

I was touched by their ability to be authentic, to be real, to make me believe in a heart behind their brand. So, I’m not gonna lie—after these moments of reflection on what I just read, I was left wanting to use Enterprise for my next car rental. I started questioning why I usually rent from the same one or two companies, and for that, I had reasons, but not good ones. Call me naïve, but my glistening eyes say that now, maybe I have a good reason for a different choice.