The Thing About Being Extraordinary
I am writing this blog entry from the lobby of the Embassy Suites in Orlando. Emma, my 17-year-old daughter, and I escaped the New England cold for a couple of days of roller coaster riding at Universal Studios.
I will remember a lot from this weekend: riding The Incredible Hulk 10 consecutive times; the Harry Potter exhibit; and the fact that Europe and South America must be vacant because all the people were in line to buy Griffendoor scarves.
And Eddie. I will remember Eddie.
Eddie was the omelet chef at Orlando’s Embassy Suites Hotel. Physically, there was nothing extraordinary about him. He stood maybe 5 foot 6 inches and spoke with an accent that hinted at his ethnicity.
It was WHAT Eddie said that made him memorable: he called each and every guest by name, wishing us a good morning and asking for our order. How did he know our names, you might ask? He didn’t. He made them up. I, for example, was “Tom.” My daughter Emma was “Brittany.” It didn't matter to him that he was not even close to our true names. We were in Eddie’s world and he was large and in charge. All you could do was smile, laugh and play along.
It gets better...
Eddie not only gave everyone a new identity, he asked where you were from and then built a whole story around the answer. You’re from North Carolina? He used to date Ms. North Carolina. She keeps calling the house. Really irritates his wife. Oh, you’re a Texan? Eddie was governor of Texas for a time. You name the place, Eddie was a star in that state. Eddie’s world; Eddie’s rules.
The line for omelets and eggs was never less than six or seven long, but no one was bored. We smiled. We laughed. All thanks to Eddie.
It gets BETTER..
Day two of our trip, I awoke a good three hours before an exhausted Emma and took up residence down in the breakfast area. To my absolute amazement, Eddie greeted me as “Tom” again. Impressive. I’ll bet he saw 250 guests a day during his 4-hour stint as omelet guy.
As I sat, worked and drank coffee, I heard Eddie remember each and every name he had assigned the day before. Remarkable. Extraordinary. Memorable.
I have great admiration for people who bring joy to their job. It is rare, indeed, to witness such an attitude. The last last time I saw it was at a retail store roughly three months ago. I doubt I’ll see it again for several months, but I hope I am wrong.
Eddie will likely not earn a penny more for the joy he brings to his job. I suspect he doesn’t care. The gift of making a customer happy has its own rewards.
I hope that some day one of the senior staff members at Hilton (but not Paris or Perez) visits the Orlando Embassy Suites location and decides to skip the oatmeal and get an omelet and takes in the “Eddie show.” This guy should be putting on customer service seminars.
We all have choices as to how we approach our jobs. Treat it as a means to an end, you will likely be unhappy...and forgotten. See it as an opportunity and choose to be happy doing it and, as they say, you will never work a day in your life.
You have the choice to be remarkable, to be memorable, to be extraordinary. To be...Eddie.
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