Do Unto Others….

28 Jan

Terri’s post from a few days ago really got me thinking about doing things for others and paying it forward.  She mentioned that it’s very rare for people to be thoughtful and nice – especially in a work environment.  It’s rare in other places as well – She mentioned her run-in at the grocery store and how critical the customer was with the cashier, when in fact the cashier was being thoughtful and unselfish.

That is why I am blown away by my work environment.  I’ve been there for 10 months now and everyday I am amazed at what goes on.

I think I’ve eluded to it before, but my co-workers are a special bunch. Everyone there would bend over backwards for the next guy.

I work at a downtown hotel.  We’re pretty large – almost 400 rooms, and quite a few meeting rooms.  It’s a beautiful hotel.  Very elaborately decorated.  And we have VERY high standards.  Our main focus is the customer, and therefore it requires a lot of bending over, from every department, to serve a wide variety of people with various expectations.

Our Lobby

For the most part, the front desk, where I work, is the grand central.  It’s where the guests are greeted and welcomed.  It’s the place our guests turn to when they need something.  It’s where they go for concierge questions, hotel questions, directions, etc.  We constantly have to be smiling, warm, friendly and helpful.  I love serving people, so I am happy to be that way, but what’s unusual is we are all that way.  (Some may complain in the background, but the smiles and friendliness returns as soon as a guest approaches.)

And it doesn’t stop with the front desk.  Our housekeeping team is awesome at bending over backwards for the guests.    So is the maintenance team.  So is the breakfast and ‘happy hour’ team.  So is management.  It’s incredible, really.

A typical request may go like this.  The phone rings:

Me: Front desk guest services, may I help you?

Guest:  Hi. Um…our toilet is stopped up.

Me: Well, I have someone I can send up right now to take care of it for you.  Will that be alright?

Guest: Yeah, but please have them hurry.  We need to leave soon.

Me:  Absolutely.  They’ll be right up.


(And I can say that confidently, because I know they will be.)


Me (over the radio):  Front desk to Maintenance.

Maint guy #1: Go ahead.

Me: Will you go to room 230.  They’re in need of a plunger.

Maint guy #1(almost happily): Copy that.

Maint guy #2: I’m on my way to the second floor.  I can take care of it for you.

Maint guy #1:  Well thank you kindly.

Maint guy #2: No problem.

I kid you not!!!  Those are the kind of conversations we have with each other over the radios.  I mean, who else would volunteer to go plunge a toilet.  But that’s the kind of people we have there.  Our management team has no problem mopping a floor, doing dishes, checking someone in, cleaning rooms…. whatever it takes to make sure the hotel is running smoothly and our guests are taken care of.  I literally get goosebumps when I think about it.

It shows in our surveys and trip advisor ratings as well.  Our chain has won the JD Power Award 6 years in a row.  So not only does our hotel have a lot to live up to, but our entire chain has a lot to live up to.  When someone is hired, it’s because they have gone through 3 interviews: The first is with the HR director.  The second is with the manager of their department, and then finally they interview with the  General Manager of the hotel.  All three of the interviewers look for certain characteristics, and if any of them don’t see it or feel that they are a fit, they don’t get hired. In short, our company does not settle for anything.  I’m amazed really.

Obviously I am very proud of the place I work.  Yes, I do a lot of complaining about it – but mainly it’s because I’m desperate for more hours and more pay.  We’re totally living on savings right now while my husband works diligently to get his business off the ground.

It’s that pride that has me driving 50 miles to work, one way.

And it’s what is going to be the topic of our family meeting in the morning.  Poor kids don’t know what’s about to hit them…. but I’m going to propose we run our house the same way our hotel is run.  Everyone working together to help each other out, and doing it selflessly and happily, just because it’s the right thing to do. I’d like to ban the words: “But I didn’t leave the ketchup out!” and replace them with “Oh… the ketchup was left out.  It needs to be put away.  I’ll do it!”   If this works, maybe they’ll feel the same  pride in themselves and their ‘space’ that I feel when I’m at work.

What do you think?  Do you think they’ll jump on board with me?

I have my doubts, but I’m goin’ for it anyway.  🙂


Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Commute, Family, Parenting, The Hotel


Tags: , , , , , , ,

15 responses to “Do Unto Others….

  1. carolzart

    January 28, 2012 at 3:37 am

    Hey good luck! Keep us posted, I’ve tried to get that same attitude going, but it’s usually the other way around. How can “nobody” have been the one who left the mess??

    And…beautiful lobby! I’ve worked in 3 different hotels, and this one is gorgeous! You’ve told me your town is just around 600 people, but you sure know your hospitality. There is definitely something to be said for having high standards.

  2. Abby

    January 28, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Oops, wrong blog link up there. This multiple personality thing is becoming a challenge.

    • shadowrun300

      January 28, 2012 at 3:47 am

      I was wondering why I had to ‘approve’ your comment. 🙂
      My town is quite small, but I’m not from here. My husband is. I grew up in the military so I’ve lived in many different states and countries. I’m much more cultured. haha *sarcastically* I specifically went job hunting for a hotel in the city. I wanted a professional, beautiful, busy hotel… and this definitely fits the bill.
      As far as the kids… I’ve tried it before too, but not since they’ve been older and more mature. They can change. Right?

  3. agg79

    January 28, 2012 at 4:00 am

    I think they will be on board with you all the way. All they need is some inspiration and a leader and I think you’ve definitely got that nailed.

    As one who has been a traveler/guest in many hotels over the past few years, I’d like to express my thanks and undying appreciation for the work you guys do. It may not seem like much at the time, but I really appreciate everything you do and how much you try to try to lighten the load. I try not toe be that cranky a/h that you occasionally encounter each day. We can be a testy bunch at times and not the nicest people to deal with, but I, for one, appreciate your help and patience, backed up toilets and all. Thanks for all that you do to make the journey easier. I respect the work you do and the crap you have to put up with every day and only hope that I can spend a few nights in your place, Thank you and your team for all that you do to make the journey more comfortable.

    • shadowrun300

      January 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your appreciation! I definitely don’t do this for the money – because I barely make much more than my kids do. I do it because I genuinely enjoy helping people and want them to REALLY feel like they are a guest in our home – making their vacation/business trip as comfortable and easy as can be. Most of the guests in our hotel have very few complaints compared to the last hotel I worked at, and I attribute that to our employees. Our guests see that we are focused on customer service, so even when things go wrong, they remain pretty patient. This job has changed the way I travel though. Now that I know what goes on behind the scenes, I feel I am a much better guest.
      And by all means, if you are ever in the St. Louis area, please let me know. I’d love to have you as a guest, and even if you are an a/h, I will continue to be friendly and helpful with a smile on my face – until you leave the desk – and then everyone will know about the guy in 428…..

  4. Mike

    January 28, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Unfortunately, kids often don’t see things the way you do. They probably will one day, but I grew up with four brothers, and I had no interest in cleaning up after one of them, or doing my chores and theirs too. If you somehow manage to pull this off, I’d love to know your secrets because I want to use them when Wife Unit and I have kids one day.

    Speaking of, I have it on good authority that you have always been an amazing employee with an eye for pleasing guests. I know that you used to be the highlight of a certain someone’s day when everything else seemed to go wrong, so it doesn’t surprise me in the least that your present company saw potential in you. I’m glad you have a job that you enjoy so much.

  5. shadowrun300

    January 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Aww.. well you can tell the “certain someone” that I always looked forward to working with her, because she was the only other one there who really seemed to care as much as I did. That’s what’s so great about my hotel now. Everyone really cares.
    As far as the kids…. I don’t expect them to be extremely gung-ho on my proposition, but they are 19, 17, 15, 13 now so at some point they just need to do what needs to be done no matter how it got there. Of course whoever used the ketchup should have put it away, but that doesn’t mean the next person who sees it out should leave it out as well. I’m just hoping that they are mature enough now to understand – even if they do grumble about it.

    • Jules

      January 30, 2012 at 1:45 am

      Awww… I’m that certain someone!!!!! 🙂 Haha.. I would always tell MIke about everyone there and he knew exactly how I felt about each person. You were most definitely the highlight of my day.. I couldn’t believe that we had finally found another person who actually took pride in their job! And then they lost us both! lol.

      At work, I tried that my hardest to have people just ‘do it’ if it needs to be done, no matter who really should be doing it… (mostly taking glasses and plates back to the kitchen). Employees would complain to me, and I would tell them “Just do it. If you notice it happening on a regular basis from a specific shift, then let me know and I will approach that shift. But if it’s just a one time thing – do it, because this is also a guest area and we can’t leave it like this”. Then of course they wouldn’t do it anyway, and because of all the trouble they were already in from other things – I wasn’t allowed to do anything disciplinary because ‘it just wasn’t worth it’. Or because it was a manager. Ugh. Oh I do not miss the stresses of that place. Good riddance!

      • shadowrun300

        January 30, 2012 at 3:44 am

        Yep. Good Riddance! 🙂

  6. territerri

    January 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    The attitude in your workplace just goes to show that a positive attitude and generosity are contagious. I’ve actually often wondered if I’d like to work in the hotel industry. I like people and I enjoy doing for others. I have a good job that I enjoy, but if I ever find myself in a position of having to look again, I may try the hotel industry.

    I hope your kids jump on board, but don’t be too disappointed if they don’t. I think it’s just part of growing up to not be open to behavior like you’re suggesting to them. Mine are better now that they are older, but the three of them don’t share living space on a daily basis either.

    Thank you for recognizing my posts! 🙂

  7. shadowrun300

    January 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I often wonder if it’s a waste of time to try, but I do know that I like to keep instilling in them the need for self-discipline and work before play and not procastinating etc, in the hopes that some day it will sink in. Heck, I’m in my 40’s and still trying to learn how to be a better mother, employee, wife… It’s definitely a continuing effort.
    And I love your posts… so I’ll share as often as I can! 🙂

  8. towardshealthylife

    January 28, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Now I understand why you travel so far to work there. I can’t wait to see if your kids are going to get in “helping each other mode”. Trying it won’t cost you anything and it might be surprising, well just have to wait and see…

    • shadowrun300

      January 29, 2012 at 1:10 am

      I really am not crazy… it’s worth it for me. 🙂 Good thing I like it though, because after gas, insurance and taxes come out of my check – not much is left to take home. Wasn’t a big deal when hubby was making money, but kinda stressful right now. He keeps reminding me, though, how important it is that I’m taking care of the medical insurance, so I’ll stay where I am happy and not look for a lesser job that pays more. Money isn’t everything, and we’re making it just fine so far.
      I’ll have a follow-up post soon about how the kids handled the discussion. Oooooh, the suspense. 🙂

  9. Jules

    January 30, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Oh your lobby is gorgeous!! I can’t believe I haven’t seen it in person yet. I hope you get your kids on board with helping out around the house and just doing something themselves if they see that something should be done. You and I both know (from our hotel experience together) that there are many adults that cannot do this! I’m shocked at your hotel and how happy everyone is to work together. I did see some of that at the location I worked at for a few months, but nothing like what you have. Lucky!! I hope they give you more hours soon!!!

  10. shadowrun300

    January 30, 2012 at 3:46 am

    It won’t be long before I have plenty of hours, so I should enjoy the quiet time while I have it. 🙂
    If you’re ever in the downtown area, stop in! It really is a beautiful hotel. I’d love to show it to you.


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