Note to self: Interesting title: Love is not a Public Health Issue..
Word Count: 1755 on EC; 458 on series.
Somehow, I've ended up on Dan Kennedy's Marketing tips, and yesterday's was about going the extra mile for the customers, and that reminded me of when I worked at the country club. You just never know who is about to cross your path.
Take, for instance, the family who always came up to The Porch (casual dining area) on Sundays. In this area, members could order from the menu or do the Sunday Buffet. Most of them chose the buffet, because they were about to hit the links and didn't want to wear a jacket and tie in the formal Dining Room. This particular family had two boys, and the younger one wanted chicken fingers and fries. I got to know the family by name, and the younger boy always had a smile for me, especially if I happened to spot him walking in the door. I'd go ahead and send his order to the kitchen, and get their drinks ready and waiting before they arrived at the table. No one else liked to wait on them, because they never tipped, but we were paid $5 an hour back then, and a lot of members assumed the tips were included in the service charge on the bill. No, it wasn't; any tips we received was what was left on the table. And several of the wait staff was 'selective' about which members they catered to. I wasn't like that.
Anyway, after being my normal, friendly self for about a year, the father decided to become more active on the club's board of directors, and as he handed me the bill, he apologized for not tipping me in the past year. I cheerfully accepted his apology, and waved as they left the area. I opened up the case and he'd written on the bill a $50 tip in the 'Service Charge' box. I promptly ran after him and thanked him, and then explained I wouldn't get it. He looked shocked, and pulled out his wallet. I started to protest, and he handed me a $50 bill and said he was going to talk to the board.
For whatever reason, I had never bothered to look up this man's name in the member book. A lot of members had me sign their names and numbers for them, and this was allowed. This man always signed his own bills, and was kind and courteous to everyone. Well, a few days later, I was informed I'd been requested to work a private party for the local hospital. I'd never worked this particular fundraiser before, and since it fell on a night I usually didn't work, I was going to refuse, since I was in my final year at Ball State, and was about to start studying for finals.
My boss took me aside and told me, "Dr. S specifically asked for you. He knows you're in school, and it's a night you're usually off, so I'm putting you in the smaller room, and you'll be able to leave around 9 pm."
My eyes must have widened as I repeated, "Dr. S?" And when my boss nodded, I went to the book. Here, for the past year, I had been joking with (and teasingly withholding food from...long story!) the CEO of the local hospital. I worked the party, and as I was passing a group of people he was with, he called me over, introduced me to everyone, and said proudly, "Molly takes great care of our family every Sunday. Sit in her section, and you won't be disappointed."
I laughed and said, "Unless I disagree with your choice of dessert!" I smiled and moved on. Later, when my boss told me I could go ahead and leave, I sought out Dr. S and thanked him for requesting me. He smiled and said, "Oh that's right...you have an early class in the morning, don't you? Get one of those centerpieces and take it back to the dorm with you."
I did, and two days later, when I showed up for my regular shift, I discovered I was the only one who got to take one of the elaborate floral centerpieces home. He'd also left another generous tip for me in an envelope (all the wait staff received the same amount.)
Another time, I became a favorite of a certain group of golfers. They had their own special gathering every Friday night from May until September, and weather permitting, they ate on the patio. If it rained, they were moved indoors to another private room. Before the 1988 World Series Playoffs, my beloved Chicago Cubs were vying for the pennant, and I was seriously hoping they would win the division and ultimately head to the World Series. One gentleman overheard me talking about the previous night's game, and mentioned he'd played baseball.
"Oh really? Which team?" I asked, fully expecting some AAA team, or some obscure team I'd never heard of.
"Oh. I'm not a Dodgers fan. I like the Cubs, the Reds, and the Pirates." And I walked on.
This gentleman became another favorite of mine, and I soon got to know his wife, and what they ate and drank every Friday. Not until three years later, after I ended my employment, did I find out that Carl Erskin was a very famous name in the baseball world, and when my mother found out I had been on a first-name basis with him and never kept his signature, or even the note he'd written me, she was furious!
In my defense, my note had been destroyed 'accidentally' by the idiot I was dating at the time. He had gotten into my private papers and destroyed pictures, notes, and other items I had been saving, including the paper doily with a bunch of handwritten 'coins' some kids had drawn me one night, because they hadn't any cash, and wanted to act 'grown up'!
Fortunately, I'd placed my autographs of Sandi Patti and the Gaithers in my album...he didn't destroy those!
So as I'm promoting my books, I take special care to be cheerful and upbeat to anyone I'm speaking to about my work. You just never know who they might be related to, or grow up to be, or even who they know!
And speaking of which, my three best friends from college haven't bought mybook yet, because they 'have the originals' I asked them to read several years ago!