Everyone who frequents this blog knows that we write about communication. But every once in a while we also like to share stories about other things, simple things, everyday ordinary things. This is one of those times.
Last week was one the most important weeks of our year here at The Latimer Group. One of our biggest clients holds several leadership program weeks at the same time in late January. And every year, we are asked to teach a crash course in effective presentation skills to each of the program cohorts. It is an intense week, with an “all hands on deck” approach. All of our facilitators were involved, and the entire team was focused on this one client for the entire week.
At the end of the last day, as we were all packing up, I was in a rush to get in my car to take a phone call with another client whom I am working with this week. And in my rush to get out the door and in the car, I left behind a folder with all of my critical follow-up notes, reminders, and take-aways. The notes in the folder were not confidential in any way, but they were important to our follow-up process.
I got in the car, had my call, got home, had dinner with my kids, and around 7pm went looking for my notes so I could begin my follow-up. No notes. Not in my bag. Not in my car. Nowhere. Pretty quickly I realized what had happened. I must have left them in the conference room at the hotel. Losing these notes was not fatal to our follow-up process. But it would have meant a ton of work by me and others on the team to recreate all the necessary information.
I called the hotel, spoke to a nice man at the front desk, and asked him if the room had already been cleaned. He put me on hold and said he would check. I was waiting on hold… and waiting… and waiting… and I will admit that I started to get impatient. I figured he had forgotten about me and was on to helping the next caller or guest.
Finally, he picked up and asked me to identify what the folder looked like. I told him it had my initials “DMB” on the outside. And he said “I have it right here. The room was cleaned, but I went out to the dumpster, found the bag with the trash from your room, and the folder was in there.”
I was speechless. He went on to explain that the papers were pretty gross, covered in coffee and other stuff. But he would hold them for me at the front desk.
I thanked him profusely, immediately got in the car, and drove the 25 minutes back to hotel. When I arrived, he had all the papers laid out on a table behind the desk, with paper towels underneath, trying to dry them out a little for me.
We chatted for a while, I thanked him about ten times, and asked for the contact information for his manager, so I could send a note of gratitude (which of course I did). It is a simple story. But an amazing one nonetheless. So I had to write to the manager. And I had to share this with you here.
We are living in a world that seems more focused on the negative than anything positive. But it is these seemingly little acts of kindness and extraordinary customer service that make the world go round, and they need to be shared. Why? Two reasons:
First, there are more of these kinds of stories out there than we sometimes realize. We just have to look for them. And when they happen we need to share them. Because the bad news is getting shared a lot these days. We have to battle the negative stuff with the good stuff.
And second, perhaps this story will provide a little reminder for you to look for an opportunity to do something kind today. I know it did for me. This extraordinary act of kindness has had an impact on me for the last several days.
Finally, if you ever need to stay in the Glastonbury area, I highly recommend the Hilton Garden Inn. Trust me… the service is extraordinary.
Have a great day!
Looking for more from The Latimer Group?
- Five Simple Rules to Communicate By…
- The Message Makeover Podcast: The Science and Occasional Mania of Workplace Meetings with Dr. Steven Rogelberg
- Something Small That You Should Do Well: Bookends, Part 2
- Something Small That You Should Do Well: Bookends, Part 1
- Be Specific About the Tasks You Need to Succeed