As soon as the elevator would open and I would make my way in to the expansive hotel lobby, Survino came trotting from clear across the other side of the room, through the masses, to me.
“Mr. Jason, Mr. Jason, how are you today?” he would always begin with such a gentle but upbeat tone.
“I’m doing just fine, Survino. How are you today?” I would respond.
“Oh, I am well, Mr. Jason. Is there anything I can do for you today to make your stay better?”
Survino was a bellhop at the hotel where I stayed in Kuala Lumpur. I was in Malaysia for a couple of speeches, and Survino was the one constant of every day I was there.
Most days I would just laugh and let Survino know I was fine. But still, each time he saw me, the experience would be repeated. One day I did need to track down some sunscreen (because I was a pale white guy in Malaysia), and Survino began to literally walk me down the street to show we where to go.
“I’m good now,” I told him. “Thank you.”
“But how may I serve you now?” he asked.
Survino was one of 40 bellhops—one of 40 other people in a role similar to his. Yet I can’t tell you anything about the rest of them. I certainly can’t tell you their names, and I definitely don’t have their business card (as I have Survino’s).
Survino was special because he remembered a couple of pretty simple things that he brought to life every day:
- He remembered the purpose of his hotel was to provide an exceptional customer experience for those who stayed there.
- He remembered how simple but powerful it is to take the time to learn someone’s name and make them feel welcomed.
- He remembered how important it is to go out of your way to serve the mission—and to do it with passion.
Most important, he “ReMembered” each day. He renewed his commitment to his role and responded with simple but compelling action. Of all the employees in the entire hotel, Survino took ownership of the culture.
The English novelist E.M. Forester said, “One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.”
Am I going to be passionate about my wife and my role in our marriage? Am I going to be a passionate father? Am I going to be a person of passion with the clients and organizations I’m lucky to serve? Am I going to engage in the organizations and causes I belong to? Am I passionate about the memberships in my life or am I merely interested?
The path of merely being interested is never enough.
There were 40 bellhops at my hotel. Survino chose passion. I choose it, too.
And I invite you to do the same.
Jason Barger is the globally celebrated author of Step Back from the Baggage Claim, ReMember, and the newly released book Thermostat Cultures, as well as a coveted keynote speaker and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
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