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.