When I arrive at the restaurant where I am meeting a girlfriend for dinner, billowy clouds are gathering on the horizon, piling up in black and ominous force at the foot of the Rockies in the west. Above me, the sun is shining, the sky is mostly blue and we picked this restaurant so we could sit outside on the patio.
I find a table under a summery umbrella and when my girlfriend arrives, we settle in for a long overdue visit.
And then, the clouds march closer, the sky darkens.
It’s not going to rain, we say.
And then, thunder rolls in threatening booms across the sky.
It’s not going to rain, we repeat.
And then, the sky gets darker yet, the wind picks up. There are still several other diners outside but we decide to move in, no sense battling the wind while trying to enjoy our dinner.
We move inside to a table by the window, “It’s almost like being outside”, the manager, Frank, says as he seats us.
We laugh and continue on with our conversation.
Outside, people continue to brave the elements, until, the skies open up and rain and hail pelt the ground. They all race inside. Frank the manager and his staff race around closing up umbrellas, tipping up the chairs.
It pours. And it pours. Sheets of water streaming from the sky.
And we keep talking, catching up, sharing news of daughters and men and happenings in our lives and the rain keeps pouring down.
It’s then that Frank, the manager, pulls out his hero card. A couple of guests are waiting inside the front doors hoping for a break in the downpour so they can race to their cars.
Frank, runs outside to the patio, grabs a big festive patio umbrella, pushes it open and walks the guests to their cars. He does it, again and again.
Now that’s service. That’s a commitment to ensuring the guest experience is memorable.
We didn’t need Frank’s assistance when we left. The rain had stopped and the sun had returned to the sky. But, I kind of wished it was still raining. I kind of wished I could have been walked to my car by a pleasant young man who takes customer service so seriously.
Thank you Frank the manager at the Phoenix Grill in Westhills. You made a difference to a lot of people last night.
And, you made me smile.
This post originally appeared on my blog, Aug 1, 2012. I decided to do a retro piece this morning and was grateful for the reminder of Frank’s gallantry. It also just happens that it poured rain last night, and while I was warm and dry at home, I hope the Frank’s and Frankie’s of the world were out there holding umbrellas for strangers.