Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

The Gift of Hospitality

Miss Sugar and I went to Carl’s Jr. restaurant again today.  We had a coupon for a combo meal with the purchase of another meal.  While we were in line, Luis gave us a big smile and waved in recognition.  Luis is a young man who works there.  He had taken  our order on our last visit.  He gave us the coupon then because he decided that we had waited too long for our malts.  We told him then that there was no problem, but he insisted.

Today he came over to our table while we were eating to thank us for coming back in.  Understand that this is a fast food hamburger joint.  We thanked him for the coupon again.  We told him that we appreciated that he even recognized us.  We chatted some more and learned that he also works as a landscaper AND is taking classes online.  I told him that with his personality I hoped he would continue to work in a job that includes contact with the public.

By contrast, we had lunch at another place the day before and were welcomed by a young man whom we had met probably seven times in the past month.

He asked, “Have you been in before?”  That was his robotized greeting for every diner.

Now I do not expect everyone who meets us to remember us.  However, I do notice when a person who has met us several times has no recollection or acknowledgement of our loyalty as regular customers.

In this case, I reminded him of a conversation that we had on our last visit.

I replied, “Yes, we have been here twice a week since you opened last month.  When we talked last, you told us that you were going home to watch a John Wayne movie marathon.”  (I was wearing my cowboy hat just as I had during that prior conversation).

“Oh, yeah.  I watched three John Wayne movies, Pilgrim.”  That was clever but he still did not have a glimmer of recognition.

I am reminded of a waitress who amazed us a few years ago.  We went to a restaurant in Denver with another couple before we went to a play at the University of Denver, a few blocks from that restaurant.

Months later, we were back at the restaurant and got the same young woman as our server.

When she came to our table, she asked, “Did you make it to the play on time?  I remember that you and the other couple were cutting it close on time.”

Wow!  That lady has an extraordinary memory, but more than that, she makes her customers feel important.

I am married to a lady with the gifts of hospitality and enthusiasm.  Sugar is hosting an Italian dinner for 40 people on Saturday in connection with her art gallery.  She is having artists do live demonstrations from noon until 5 p.m.  then the dinner.  Lest you wonder about my contribution, I want you to know that I am the guy who got up on a stepladder to hang up the festive lights.  Sugar is making lasagna, ziti, bread, cannolis, and Italian green beans.  I will pour the wine.

Sugar will know everyone’s names.  Like I said, I hung up the lights.




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8 thoughts on “The Gift of Hospitality

  1. We had a waiter, Ramone, who remembered our conversation from a year ago–I was astounded and humbled by his ability. Ask anyone who dines out in Pensacola–they might know Ramone. He’s the best there is. Thanks for your great post.

  2. When I worked in a small retail business I always enjoyed seeing familiar faces and visiting with them. Treating someone like a friend and being able to assist them with their need was the best reason for working there.

  3. If my favorite waitress saw us coming, she went ahead and set our table with 2 glasses of ice water with lemon (husband) and a cup of hot coffee with cream (me), greeted us by name and always was attentive. She was everyone’s favorite!

  4. Some people truly enjoy working with the public and are enthusiastic about their work. These people will remember you. Other people really aren’t that interested, so they forget easily.

    (Your wife’s dinner sounds incredible…that’s a ton of people to serve.)

    • I agree. In any occupation, people vary in ability and motivation. That is why we notice those who stand out as being “above average.”
      As for Sugar, she is very much above average. She has worked hard to plan, organize and put on her event at the gallery. She is cooking all the food. I appreciate her ways of assisting with the dinner, but don’t forget that I intend to pour the wine. Also, I failed to mention that I will pick up the rental tables and chairs, which is very important. Sugar is a great cook, but if I do say so myself, I am better at carrying folding chairs and tables. Just sayin’.

      • I can appreciate your effort. Often I have been called into service to carry tables and chairs. I have a very good F150 pickup truck that is good for that purpose. It is grueling work.

  5. Isn’t it nice when you’re treated nicely (and remembered) when you frequent an establishment. It makes all the difference in the world in how you feel about your experience there.
    Sounds like you’re going to have a busy Saturday….bet it’ll be great fun for everyone. If only Sugar would carry her weight in pulling it all off…*smile*

  6. From a more recent post, I see Ms. Sugar allowed you to dine on her fine Iranian cuisine. That must imply she approved of the fine way you hung the lights. The question is, did you deserve the canolli?

    You bring up a good point with the memory. I feel those destined to be in positions requiring interaction with customers have such talent. Others, like myself, have been relegated to menial office jobs due to having no such skills like your second example. At times, I even forget why I was there.

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