The business of same-day delivery, with its emergencies and challenging deadlines, is by nature far from routine. But the long and storied career of Bill Goodman—a.k.a. "Mr. Courier"—has been more varied than most. Goodman, 78, will have many a tale to tell when he is inducted into the Messenger Courier Association of America's (MCAA) Hall of Fame at the organization's annual meeting in mid-May.
Goodman began his career in the courier industry as a 16-year-old messenger for Service Messenger Co. Inc. in New York City, eventually buying the company. The firm's specialty—serving the entertainment industry—meant that Goodman was in daily contact with the famous and the infamous. Among the company's clients were Broadway giants Flo Ziegfeld, George White, Billy Rose, Hal Prince, and George S. Kaufman. Colorful stories abound: Kaufman used to call the service to change his typewriter ribbon, and Nanette Fabray's boyfriend once hired the firm to deliver a bacon and tomato sandwich to her. Service Messenger's employees even babysat celebrity chimpanzee Mr. Muggs at the Plaza Hotel. But the most prized assignment, which Goodman and his partner, Susan Cooper, reserved for themselves, was the annual delivery of the Tony Awards.
Goodman sold the company in 1989 and later signed on as executive director of the New York State Messenger and Courier Association. Under his leadership, the organization grew from eight to 75 members. He also launched the group's Courier Times newsletter, which he still publishes, and wrote a book about starting and managing a courier company. "It's been one hell of a ride," said the indefatigable Goodman when he learned of the MCAA award. "I love this industry because of its many challenges."