The foundation of hospitality is gift giving...doing more for others than for yourself. What is often overlooked is timing...giving when it's most important for the recipient and not necessarily convenient for you. There's very little art in heaping on the expected smiles, catch phrases and giving someone trinkets. The art happens when you go out of your way to do something meaningful...for the moment. That's remarkable. Unfortunately, you can't do this by reading a script. It requires expertise in picking up clues and then acting upon them. Oddly enough, the clues are gifts themselves. So it becomes an exchange...call it improv. The key is to do something, to act, perhaps go out on a limb, to complete the exchange. Without action, the gift of the clue is wasted. What a shame.
What makes the story of the video so remarkable is the surprise action by the young man at the end. The real heros might be his parents...thank you.
I’ve spent better part of my life perfecting the art of hospitality, serving and caring for others. And I've learned that almost everyone has an innate sense of duty to help other people. But most of us practice caring in friendly confines. When it comes to danger and especially putting your life on the line, we tend to lean out...and rightly so. Well, there is a minority group of people who lean in. They are willing to assume risk of harm and maybe worse to help people, to keep us safe and to allow us to enjoy the freedom of how we want to live our lives. It might be a police officer directing traffic in a busy intersection, a firefighter working tirelessly to control forest fires or a military member looking for landmines in Afghanistan. This is a different type of Duty...a different type of Art. And the Tour of Duty Ride currently underway across the USA draws attention to that Art.
I literally ran across this group two weeks ago while out for a morning run in Las Vegas. Since then, I helped host them on a stopover in Little Rock and now have an opportunity to join them for the last two stages of their incredible trek. I couldn’t feel more honored to be a part of their quest. These are caring people with nothing to gain but the experience of the journey and the hope of inspiring others to recognize the importance of service through this highest form of hospitality.
I feel privileged to be on board and thank you for your dedication to our collective art.
This isn't a post about texting while driving. It’s a post about awareness. It’s obviously not smart to drive with your eyeballs focused on the dashboard (or anything other than outside) for more than a second or two. The same rule applies in hospitality. And it’s the one I see broken the most often.
Go out today and watch how many people don’t see you coming. Test it. See how close you can get before they make eye contact, before they smile and before they speak. Those of us formally trained in the business of service know it as the 10 and 5 rule. If a person enters your 10 foot circle, you must acknowledge their presence by stopping whatever you’re doing and making eye contact. Once they hit 5 feet, you must say something to them, presumably something nice.
Awareness though begins outside of 10 feet...at least it does in the customer service business. It starts with your approach on how you do things. You’re either the type that focuses intently on the matter at hand, like sorting receipts or typing an email and tunes out most everything else. Or you focus first on your surroundings and passively on the other busy tasks that you need to get done by the end of the day, shift, etc. Focusing outside your own bubble isn’t something that comes naturally, it’s a developed skill which requires practice. So, if you’re in the hospitality business (who isn’t really), please go practice. And make it mandatory for everyone on your team.