One day in June of 2001 I had to make a business trip to Spicer Minnesota.
I flew into Minneapolis-St Paul the evening before and make the 2 hour drive thru the farm land of Minnesota.
I got into the hotel at around 10:30pm. There were only a few cars in the parking lot. There was no one in the lobby with the exception of Steve, the night Manager at the front desk.
“Hello, you must be Mr. Burriss,” Steve said. I love being acknowledged when I come arrive into a town I have never been to before. I assumed he knew my name because I was the only person who had not checked in yet.
We chatted for a few minutes while I checked in.
Steve asked me if I traveled much, which I did back then.
“Yeah, I spend most every week on the road Steve. Most of the time I go to the same hotel in Newark New Jersey,” I answered.
“I bet you really get to know the people at that hotel”, Steve responded.
OK – here is where I really stretched the truth a lot.
“Bill, the night manager at my regular hotel, likes me so much that every morning he brings up my favorite donut, a hot mug of bold coffee with 2 creams and a newspaper. I love his hotel and now, Bill and I are really good friends,” I told Steve, lying thru my teeth.
“That sounds like a good hotel and a great night manager,” Steve responded.
“Do you need a wake up call Mr. Burriss?” Steve asked.
“Yes Steve, how about 6:15 in the morning,” I replied.
“You got it Mr. Burriss. I’ll make sure you get a wake up call then,” Steve responded.
I began walking towards the elevators as we said good night to each other.
The hotel room was nice, clean and away from the elevator, making it a quiet room. The bed was comfortable. The combination of these qualities made for a really good night’s sleep.
I slept like a log until 6:15 in the morning.
Someone was knocking gently on my door and calling my name.
“Mr Burriss, it’s Steve. I’m here with your wake up call”
I crawled out of the bed. I opened the door without putting any pants over my boxers.
There was Steve holding a serving tray with a carafe of coffee, a coffee mug and a plate of glazed donuts.
Under his arm was a neatly folded newspaper.
“Good morning Mr. Burriss. I thought you might appreciate a regular wake up call so I brought you donuts and coffee,” Steve said.
Wow, I felt both glad and embarrassed at the same time. This guy was trying to provide customer service like the guys in the big towns.
“Steve, thank you very much, I really appreciate this,” I said as I took the tray and newspaper he was handing to me.
“I work hard at providing the best customer service I can Mr. Burriss. Thanks for the idea of coffee and donuts for a wake up call. I hope to do this more often for our better guests,” Steve told me.
I felt a little bad about lying to Steve and that he considered me one of his better guests.
But, I am happy that I gave Steve an idea that he ran with and that he thinks will make him a better Customer Service guy.