Earlier this week, in Lexington, Massachusetts, a house blew up. The occupants got out just in time, but the Civil War-era home was virtually levelled.
Initial reports indicated a gas leak might have been responsible, but the fire department said it would take more investigation.
That didn’t stop the local gas company, Keyspan, from swinging into action. They conducted their own investigation, and issued a statement immediately, saying it was too early to be sure, and they stood by their record of safe operations, and that their lawyers advised them to not say anything publicly until all the facts were in.
Whoops, my bad. That’s the standard Corporate CYA mentality there.
What Keyspan actually did was this:
1) Arrange for housing for those people affected by the blast.
2) Set up a claims line for people to call and report their losses.
3) Figured out just what happened (someone put high-pressure gas into a low-pressure line), admitted it publicly, apologized, and got right to work on fixing it and making sure it doesn’t happen again.
What Keyspan did was what we should expect from responsible companies — they took the right, honorable, and honest course. It’s something that’s sorely lacking these days — largely fueled by our increasingly-litigious society, but our system of rewarding those who don’t take personal responsibility for their actions.
I expect Keyspan will get sued over this, but so far it looks like they’ll make right by people without that club. And if anyone thinks they hit the jackpot from this screwup, I hope Keyspan countersues them for defamation.
It’s so damned rare that one can look at a big company like Keyspan and be impressed with their actions. They deserve to be singled out for praise.