Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Lost Art

As many of you know I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with Grandma Santa in the Okanagan, Penticton to be exact. I was able to spend some time with my sisters and their husbands as well as a niece and nephew, it has not happened in a long time, that we were all in the same room together that is. We wanted to take Grandma out for a nice meal and so Grandpa set up a reservation and Plans were set to attend a local restaurant for dinner. To the “Hooded Merganser” we went.
I surely don’t want this to sound like a restaurant critics post about a restaurant, but please stay with me I will get to the moral of the story soon I promise.
When greeted at the door of the restaurant, there was a smile from the hostess, promptly our seats were opened for us and the night began. First off the views are stunning as you look over the lake. Then the one thing that I thought was dead in most of the world actually happened, as I looked around the restaurant I noticed one server hugging people and being overly friendly with her customers, surely  she must have known them for a long time and was taking a moment out of her busy night just to let them know that she was glad to see them, turns out that would not be the case , luckily she would be our server for the evening.
Her name was Megan, she showed up at our table and instantly it was like she was part of the family. When she found out that it was Grandma Santa’s Birthday , immediately she gave a huge smile and went and gave her a hug , made her feel special. Megan took care of us all evening long and paid special attention to Grandma on her 70th Birthday. Constantly throughout the night she made a point of making sure grandma was taken care of .Megan brought a glass of Champagne for Grandma and said “ this will kick start that glass of wine that you just had” ( I had to laugh because I knew Grandma would be getting the giggles soon). Megan,  At the end of the night stated to us that even though we are not staying for dessert she had something for Grandma, quickly coming back to the table with a bowl full of Strawberries and whipped cream with a candle in it. Megan stated to us that a birthday is just not a birthday without singing, she led us in singing “Happy Birthday” to grandma and then gave her a huge hug and wished her well as we left. The Manager Les was very accommodating to our group and always when someone got up from the table offered a smile. I posted comments throughout dinner showing pictures of the food and the view, I even reached out to some celebrities to make them aware of this place, it was an experience for sure not just a meal.  
As I thanked Megan for going out of her way to make Grandma feel special, she took the time to reveal a short story about a customer that she had had for many years.
Not too long ago Megan states that she had some regular customers that had been coming to see her for years, a couple; they used to frequent her restaurant and would always ask for her as their server! Suddenly they stopped attending, after finding out that the gentleman was terminal with Cancer she actually got a request from the man to visit her in the hospital. Megan tells me that she was able to see the man and pay her respects. The gentleman and Megan spoke for a while before Megan revealed she had a video of an event that she was in, the gentleman requested to see it, without hesitation she hopped up on the mans bed, gave a snuggle and watched the video with him, this was one of the last smiles that this man would have before succumbing to his fight with Cancer. I do not blame this man and wife for asking for Megan’s section if this is the compassion and understanding that she showed them while serving their meals. This gave the gentleman closer and some sense of closer for Megan as she told me her mother had passed away and she was never able to do the same with her.
Why am I telling you this story? Customer service is a lost art in this world. Now a day you go into most restaurants and you barely get a smile, the service is horrible, no one seems to care and then at the end of the night you get dirty looks if you do not tip to the full 20%. I will tip how I feel the service has been and that’s how it should be. Megan did not have to do what she did for grandma that night or what she did for the man fighting Cancer , I Truly believe that she did it not for the tip, but because she loves people and she cares. Thank you so much for making my Mom feel like the special woman that she is that night, you cannot put a price on that. We need more people like Megan in this world; I want to wish her the best of luck at the upcoming Server competitions in Calgary.
Also a special thank you to the ladies at @okanaganlifemag Wendy and Laurie for sending me info on the Best servers list in the Okanagan in which Megan is ranked 3rd, check out the Spring issue for the complete lists,  also to the entire staff of @the_hood (Hooded Merganser), whether you’re a big superstar or just a Secret Santa they treat you with respect and dignity and make your brief stay with them feel inviting. If ever you have the Chance and are in Penticton stop by and ask for Megan and Les and say thank you for understanding what it takes to be a stars of customer service and treating people the right way.  
I will be back in the Okanagan and I know where I am going for dinner with Mrs. Santa

Thursday, June 6, 2013

SHAME on the City of Abbotsford

I am not sure if you saw the article today regarding some homeless people being pushed out of an area in the @city_abbotsford using Chicken manure. I am absolutely disgusted with the actions of the city manager “GEORGE MURRAY”, granted he may not have been the one dumping the manure but you know perfectly well that he knew it was happening. George stated in an interview that he was “Deeply sorry for our actions”, this to me is all lip service. Yes they may now try and fix the issue but what the city is missing is that the actions have already cause irreparable damage. These people regardless of their situation do not deserve to have their dignity and self-worth stripped away from them due to the feelings of a few at city hall. Instead of using “chicken shit“ techniques to rid your city of the homeless population , why not try and help the people become stronger , more self-sufficient and help them get into affordable housing.  The money spent on staff salary, finding and purchasing then dumping the manure could have been used to fund a day program, feed these people for a month or organize a committee to find ways to relocate people in a dignified manner. Yes today I may be frustrated and angry but we all should be. Being homeless is not a choice that most people make. It could happen to anyone of us at any time with the state of this economy; does anyone remember the 80’s?
Maybe I am just a bleeding heart but when and how can we change the perception that people have about the needy and persons with disability? It’s time for all of us to look in the mirror and address the social issues that we have. I am sure at one point or another we have all looked in our bank accounts and wondered how we will make it to next payday, what happens when we don’t have a next pay day ? We would want people to help us up and get back on our feet wouldn’t we? If more people would sit down and actually listen to someone’s story of how they became homeless you may just find that you are not so different from them, you just were able to catch a break along the way. Most homeless people do not want a hand out , they want a hand up.
In closing to the @city_abbotsford and George Murray , I would love to see you forfeit a weeks’ worth of salary to the people affected by your dumping barrage and use the minimal essentials that these people call there life and YOU sir sleep in that manure camp for a week and walk a mile in a homeless persons shoes. The unfortunate part would be that you get to return to your comfy house and ignore the problems of the outside world because it isn’t happening to you.
Please share this story with everyone you know and stand up for people everywhere.