I had a "back to the future" moment this week when I checked into the Sheraton Parsippany in New Jersey, which was a second home for me in the mid-2000s. I asked the front desk clerk if Mary still worked there. The attendant brightened and said, "Yes she does, I love Mary. What a wonderful person. Sometimes I just want to give her a hug to feel better." This response didn't surprise me because I had heard it many times before.
Mary is in charge of the concierge level lounge that offers breakfast and evening appetizers to guests. Her warmth and dedication is felt as soon as you walk through the door. She gives new guests a detailed tour of the lounge and wows returning ones with her knowledge of their preferences. Mary used to save the best bananas for me and once forbade me from eating one because it was below her standards. She then quickly went to the main kitchen to get me the best one on site. Classic Mary!
I wasn't the only one who was in awe of Mary. Our entire project team sang her praises. She called us "the Canadians" and did everything she could to make us feel at home. At the close of our assignment, we sent her flowers and some money as a thank you. It didn't seem enough for all she had done for us but she loved our gesture. After being transferred from the local office, I visited her when in the area or occasionally gave her a call. When we spoke she asked about each of "the Canadians" by name, just like family.
It was great to seeing Mary again, especially in a newly renovated lounge that she was proud off. Although the room had changed, Mary was the same. She even saved two bananas for me each day, just like before.
I decided to write a letter of appreciation to the hotel's manager stating how important Mary is to her customers. It doesn't seem enough for all she has done for me but I hope she loves my gesture.