I have said countless times that I have what is likely the best job in my company and maybe even one of the best jobs that exists in all of the employment world. On an everyday basis I am reminded of how the privileges of being a Maitre d’ at Joe’s positively influences my life. In the past month alone the countless generosity of my many guests/friends have provided me with tickets to Madonna, Peter Gabriel, Notre Dame vs. Michigan in South Bend, the upcoming Michigan vs. Illinois game at Ann Arbor this weekend (in the press box BTW) and Lions vs. Seahawks game in Detroit the last weekend of October. Add to that the regular 51% discount we get at all of our company restaurants it is often mind bending the amount of perks we enjoy. All of these premiums are wonderful and amazing and great, but I think the thing that trumps the wonderful entertainment perks I enjoy are the relationships that are created over the years that transcend just normal customer interactions.
Today was a very telling reminder of what is really special about being in the situation I’m in. It started with a couple of phone calls. Typical to a usual day I fielded at least 5 phone calls within ten minutes of walking in the door. “Jim line 1. Jim line 7. Jim line 4” are things that I often hear nearly every morning after I arrive. On this day a couple of my first calls were from regular customers who asked first about my wedding plans before even inquiring about reservations. In fact one of those calls came in with no request for reservations but rather just to tell me that they had recently met my fiancee and wanted to tell me how happy they were for me. Really? That kind of personal touch and concern is not something that most people are lucky enough to enjoy as a part of there everyday “work” assignment.
What truly blew me away though today was a lunch visit from a couple I hadn’t seen in a few months. As I sat them I noticed a big scar across the top of his head and I quickly found out that he had brain surgery to remove a tumor just over two weeks ago. They then added that this was their first outing since he had gone home and they came in because Joe’s was their most comfortable place to visit and that they wanted to chat with me and find out about my wedding plans. Gulp! If that isn’t a bit humbling I don’t know what is.
Over the next two hours we exchanged stories about my life and their lives. At the end they told me they were about to start a new (their chosen words) journey. That journey would start tomorrow and it would involve 30 consecutive days of radiation and chemotherapy on a daily basis. The truly touching part was that they chose to spend the final day before that journey with me/us/Joe’s.
We serve stone crab, fresh fish and prime steaks everyday. Guests come because our amazing kitchen serves great food, our servers give humble/personal service and our atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. But to me there is something even more powerful than that and it only happens in the most unique of all environments. It’s like coming to your best friends house, it’s like being served in your own home, it’s like nothing else I could have ever imagined. I am so lucky and I am so continually humbled.
For the next 30 days I will work each day knowing that a friend is working on something way more significant and that anything I do is easy by comparison. I will be grateful for my many blessings. And I will look forward to the next visit from the couple that chose to spend their only comfortable day in a journey of many days in the place that I am very happy to call my home away from home. I am so unbelievably lucky…