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Category: Awesome Customers

This Boss Gets More Than Just The Check

| New Orleans, LA, USA | Awesome Customers, Food & Drink, Top

(A young gay couple has become my favorite regulars at the small restaurant where I work. One day as I am talking with them, an older, more conservative-looking man walks past us to the To-Go pickup area. He stops short next to us, and in the same moment, I see one of the young guys look down with a panicked expression at where he is holding his boyfriend’s hand.)

Older Man: “James! I didn’t know you ate here!”

James: *uncomfortable* “Oh yeah, um… it’s half way between work and my… boyfriend’s work, so.”

Older Man: *glances at James’ boyfriend* “Oh.”

(There is an awkward pause, where we all just stare at each other.)

Older Man: “I’m sorry, I’m being rude.” *offers his hand to James’ boyfriend* “I’m Mike, James’s boss. Very nice to meet you. We all love James in the office.”

James’ Boyfriend: “Oh! Nice to meet you too! You know, James is always talking about how much he looks up to you.”

(James is so visibly relieved that he is near tears. The three makes some more small talk before the older man heads off to pick up his lunch. I end up taking his payment and he quietly asks me to pay for James and his boyfriend’s meal as well.)

Older Man: “You know… when I was growing up, I was taught that being gay was bad, a sin. But that young man is the brightest kid I’ve ever known, and I can’t see a d*** thing wrong with him…” *pauses* “…or his boyfriend.”

(He smiles at me and then walks away without another word. To this day, I can’t think about the look on James’s face when I told him that his boss paid for his nearly $100 meal without wanting to cry.)

Phoned Then Owned

| Forster, NSW, Australia | Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior, Theme Of The Month

(I work in the deli department of my local supermarket, and am calling out the numbers of the tickets.)

Me: “Number 24? Does anybody have ticket number 24? Anybody at all?”

(At this point, I think someone might have grabbed two tickets by accident off the ticket dispenser and decide to skip ahead to the next number.)

Me: “Oh well, then… number 25?”

(The customer with ticket 25 starts ordering what she wants, when suddenly the customer with ticket 24 storms over. She has clearly been on the phone.)

Customer #24: *huffed voice* “Excuse me? I was before this lady. I was number 24!”

Me: “Just one second, ma’am. I’ll serve you after this customer.”

(Customer #25 smiles shyly at me.)

Customer #24: “Well, I was before this lady!” *puts a rude smirk when referring to her* “Clearly, because I was number 24!”

Me: “Well, I was calling your number for a good while before I started serving this lady. You weren’t even at the deli counter.”

Customer #24: “I WAS STILL FIRST!”

Me: “Ma’am, if you just let me serve this customer quickly, I’ll get to you in just a—”

(Suddenly, Customer #25 decides they’ve had enough of Customer #24 and speaks up in my defense.)

Customer #25: “Well, how the bloody h*** is he supposed to know he’s skipped someone when nobody answers his calls?! How’s he supposed to know you’re off in another aisle on the phone? You know it’s people like you that make his day so much worse!”

Customer #24: *stomps off*

Lodging A Compliment

| Truro, England, UK | Awesome Customers, Hotels & Lodging

(I work on the reception of a large hotel chain. We do a deal where you can get cheap nights at a hotel under three circumstances: 1) you book and pay in advance, 2) you don’t alter the booking in ANY way, and 3) you book online. As there’s minimal person-to-person interaction, there are plenty of people who tick the ‘terms and conditions’ without reading them. The biggest catch is that if you cancel, as you’ve paid in advance, the hotel still charges you the stay.)

Me: “Hello, this is [hotel and chain] and I’m [name]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “Hello, I’ve made a booking for the 21st until the 23rd but I’ve changed my mind, and I’d like to come the following weekend instead. Could you change this for me?”

Me: “One moment, sir. I’ll just bring up your booking…”

(I take his details and quickly notice he’s on this deal, and therefore I cannot make any changes.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, it’s not possible for me to change it. You’ve booked through our [offer system] and therefore we can’t make any alterations to the booking.”

Customer: “What do you mean? I just want you to change the dates. What’s so difficult?”

Me: “I understand, sir, but you’ve made this booking under the deal, and part of the contract of that is that there cannot be any changes to the booking.”

Customer: “What?! What contract? I signed no contract!”

Me: “The details of the offer are in the Terms and Conditions when you made the booking. We do advise you read those.”

Customer: “Fine! I don’t want to come to your hotel now at all. Just cancel the booking.”

Me: “Of course, sir, but you must know that we’ll still charge you for the stay. That’s also in the terms and conditions. If you cancel for whatever reason, [chain] will still charge the money.”

(The customer explodes down the phone at me, and I have to hold the phone away from my ear because of the noise level. He begins threatening to go to the media, ruining the chain’s reputation and generally being abrasive. At this point, two women walk into the reception and I ask them politely to wait as I’m currently dealing with the customer on the phone. They both lean on the counter and can clearly hear the man on the other end shouting at me. Finally, he calms somewhat.)

Me: “I completely understand your predicament, sir. I have been wondering if my system would allow me to change the dates of the stay in such an event but haven’t been able to do so for obvious reasons. The only thing I can offer you is that I, out of curiosity, change the dates on your booking. I warn you, I have no idea if this will be successful, as I’ve not attempted it before. If I change it you may still be charged. This is the best I can offer you. Do you understand?”

Customer: “Yes, I understand. You’re going to try to change it, but your system might not allow it?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Customer: “And if the system doesn’t allow it, I may be charged.”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Customer: “Let’s do it, then!”

(I change the dates and luckily, it allows it. He is still on the offer, but on different days. I explain this to him.)

Me: “So, you’re booked in for [dates] which will cost you [price] and I do suggest that, next time, you don’t use this offer. It’s quite tempting, but if you aren’t absolutely certain on the dates of your stay, it’ll cost you extra.”

Customer: “Thank you so much! I’ve written down your name, I’ll enjoy meeting you. You’ve been such a help and I’ll bring you a bottle of bourbon for you when I get there.”

(I end the call, and make a note of his attitude on his booking, as warning for other receptionists that might encounter him. I look up sheepishly at the two women still waiting to be checked in.)

Me: “How can I help you today?”

Woman #1: “Get your manager down here right now.”

(I call down the manager, knowing what they’ve heard me do is against company policy, and that I could be in a lot of trouble for doing it.)

Manager: “What can I do for you, ladies?”

Woman #2: “This girl has just shown the best customer service we’ve ever seen.”

Woman #1: “Yes, we stay in these hotels all the time, and I’ve never seen anyone handle a bad customer like that.”

Woman #2: “It was amazing! You should’ve seen it! She deserves a medal for keeping her cool. Definite customer satisfaction, and she hasn’t even checked us in yet!”

Manager: “Thank you, ladies, I’ll make a note of it. If that’s all, I’ll leave her to check you in?”

(I got a commendation from head office for my conduct, although they weren’t entirely clear on the details of why I should get it. It’s not monetary reward, but having ‘outstanding customer service award’ from one of the leading hotel chains in the UK does look rather good on my CV… and all for breaking company policy!)

(P.S. The man didn’t bring me the bourbon after all!)

A Free Cup Of Kindness

| Redondo Beach, CA, USA | Awesome Customers, Food & Drink, Top

(I am having a pretty rough time, and I am not looking forward to work. I work in a small taco shack near the beach. My customers are often inexplicably rude, with a few exceptions. A girl walks up to the counter, and before I can ask what she wants to order she grins at me. Her smile is so genuine, I’m speechless.)

Girl: “How are you today?”

(I’m really surprised at this point.)

Me: “I’m, uh, I’m pretty good, thank you.”

Girl: “Oh, that’s good.” *smiles again*

Me: “Thank you… uh, what can I get you?”

Girl: “Oh, hmm… can I have a chicken taco and small drink, please?”

Me: “Sure, that will be 4.95.”

Girl: *digs through her purse* “I only have $4.02. Can I take off the drink, please?”

Me: “Oh yeah, sure.”

(I hand her the receipt and a empty drink cup.)

Girl: *surprised* “Wait, I asked to take the drink off.”

Me: “I did. You made my day a whole lot better just by asking how I was and giving me a smile. Least I can do is buy you a drink!”

(She thanks me and gives me her prettiest smile yet before walking away. People should realize the difference a smile can make. It can change an employee’s whole day!)

Homeless Is Where The Heart Is

| Atlanta, GA, USA | Awesome Customers, Top, Transportation

(I am taking the local subway home after work. Most of the subway customers/passengers are dressed as typical office workers except for one man across from me, who is very shabby looking—dirty patch-work clothes, hair dirty and scraggly, beard wild and unkempt—and has a large, filthy shopping bag full of what looks like all of his worldly possessions, including blankets, dirty yellow pillows and an old desk lamp. Everybody on the train is deliberately trying to look away from him, save one well-dressed man. As the train moves through the stations, the well-dressed man switches seats to be closer to the old man and strikes up a conversation.)

Well-Dressed Young Man: *amiably and loudly* “What a fine day it is today! How are you today, sir?”

Ragged-Looking Old Man: *just as amiably and loudly* “I’m doing great, just great. Hope you are, too! Got a lot to do, not enough hours in the day to get it done!”

Young Man: “That’s what I thought. You look like a respectable, busy kind of guy! Like the kind of guy who has some good business going on!”

Old Man: “Why, yeah I am! I’m a bid’ness man! Got some projects I’m takin’ care of! I’m sorry I ain’t at my best. I left my bud’ness suit at home, you see! But I’m still out here takin’ care of m’projects!”

Young Man: “Yes, like I said, I’ve got a keen eye for the entrepreneurial types, and you seem the kind of guy who has a lot of good business going on! And I think you’d make a wise investment!”

(By now, I’m openly watching these two talk like they’re a couple of old business partners. The rest of the train, though still trying not to be obvious, is stealing glances, and everybody’s stopped what they were doing so they can hear.)

Young Man: *still amiably* “I think I’d like to help fund one of your projects! Would $60 be enough to start?”

Old Man: *also still amiably* “Why, yeah sir, it would! I thin’ I can put the money to proper use in m’projects! Thank yah for your help!”

(The young man pulls out and hands $60 in cash to the old man.)

Young Man: “Pleasure doing business! By the way, it looks like you’ve misplaced your jacket.”

(It is winter, and the old man only has a shirt on.)

Old Man: “Yeah, like I said, it’s at home with my business suit.” *laughs* “Like I say, you caught me when I was just going out to look around and do some shopping.” *holds up bag*

Young Man: *chuckles* “Yeah, I’m going to do some shopping when I get home, myself. Well, I wouldn’t want the man who’s project I’m funding to get sick before he has a chance to make use of my investment! That’s bad business! Here, you can borrow my jacket until you can get home to get yours.”

(The young man takes off his suit jacket—easily worth $200—and hands it to the old man.)

Old Man: “Thank ya’ again, sir! And again, I’ll put that money to good use, don’t you worry!”

Young Man: “I’m sure you will, and I’m looking forward to the results! A pleasure doing business, and have a good day.”

(The old man gets off at the next stop. The young man’s stop and mine were the same, and as he rushed off to get out of the cold and home, I ran to catch up. As we walked, I told him that I’ve never seen anyone do anything like that before, and that he’s shown me the true path of generosity. I’ve not seen either of them since, but after that day, I’ve made sure that no matter how bad times get for me, I always reserve at least $50 and a few volunteer hours for charity a month, and a little bit of extra cash on hand for those I come across who need it most!)

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