My wife and I have recently returned from a short trip to New York, part business, part pleasure, and part catching up with some family. We stayed at a midtown hotel, which has been one of my regular choices on visits to New York over the past 30 years, and which has recently been refurbished. We enjoyed our stay, which was particularly enhanced by Anna Marie. She is a receptionist, who greeted us on our arrival. Extremely courteous, pleasant, accommodating and helpful, offering to make our stay as comfortable as possible and handed me a card in case we needed help at any time. I suppose this is not unusual for any good hotel. But what added to this particular experience, was bumping into Anna Marie, as my wife and I were shopping. I have to confess, that I didn’t recognize her when she approached us in a shoe store. After all she was bundled up against the biting wind outside, and had a wooly hat on. She introduced herself with a pleasant smile, and asked if we were enjoying our shopping in New York.
We then got into a conversation, and I learned a lot about Anna Marie, who was with another employee of the hotel. Anna Marie told me that she had been in her existing job for 8 years, but this was after an eight-year hiatus, during which period she had 4 children. Prior to that she had worked for the hotel for a previous 8 years. Her friend had also been with the hotel for a similarly long period. Anna Marie, whose youthful appearance belied her telling me, more info
that her elder son was in the Marines and serving in Afghanistan. I saw the strain on her face when she said that, but she quickly followed up by telling me that she hoped he would be home in April. She had another son who was in college, and 2 younger daughters who “were driving her crazy.” She told me her husband was in construction, and they had moved 8 times during their marriage, taking advantage of his ability to fix up properties that they purchased, and increasing the size and value of each of their homes. It had been hard work, and during this most recent deep recession, her husband, unable to get work in construction, had gone to work as a hotel doorman. But things were improving, she told me with a laugh, before we finally parted company.
What did I learn from this experience? Well, during these tough economic times, there are still many American middle-class families, who have come through, because of hard work and strong family values. They are loyal hard-working employees who, despite the fact that the deck has been stacked against them over the past decade or so, continue to fight for a better life for themselves and their families.
I also realized that in this age of fraud, greed, and corruption, there are still those employers, who look after their employees, and create a culture of teamwork and success in their organization, where their first consideration is the customer.
New York is a tough city. But as they say, “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”
Ellis M. Goodman, author of Bear Any Burden: www.bearanyburden.com