Dr. C. Scott Hagood was one of the finest gentlemen I have known. A pillar of the Baptist Church, I remember him to have been around six-feet tall, with dark hair and glasses. An outstanding dentist, at one time or another Doc Hagood, drilled and filled most of my back molars.
I remember my dental visits well. Doc Hagood’s office was located in the Todd building with windows overlooking the old Ocala House Hotel. My mother would sign me in and then depart with, for good reason, an admonition for me not to flee.
In those days, dentist drills were belt driven, noisy, slow and painful. Although he would do his best, Doc Hagood, on his first attempt, never adequately deadened my mouth. I can hear his voice, “Bill, did that hurt? I’m sorry, let me give you another shot of Novocain.” By the time he would finish, I wouldn’t be able to feel one side of my face for hours. I remember one particular day after a session with the Doc, I was having lunch with a friend’s family and was so numb that I didn’t realize I had been drooling milk down the front of my shirt.
My freshman year of college, I went to have my teeth cleaned and discovered that a friend’s older sister was the new dental hygienist. She was a good-looking brunette with beautiful eyes; I had a crush on her for years. Embarrassed and happy at the same time, my emotions and hormones were soaring. If she hadn’t moved on, my teeth would have been cleaned once a month instead of yearly.
Last week, as my current dentist removed a 45 year-old filling – it hurt a lot less coming out than going in – I thought about Doc Hagood and while doing so, realized that despite the painful nature of his services, my memories were positive.
In business, we are often forced to carry out unpleasant tasks. Far into the future, how we perform those duties will affect our relationships with colleagues, employees and customers. Doc Hagood took care of his patients with sympathy and understanding. He didn’t make excuses, he took care of the problem. Because of his stellar reputation and standing in the community you trusted his word. By following his example, even the most difficult business responsibility can have a positive result.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln