Some employees are naturally infused with the spirit of service.
People visiting the San Diego Botanic Garden last December encountered an employee named Flo who had this spirit. They were so moved by her kindness and generosity that they wrote a letter complimenting her service.
The letter described the type of service we hope all our employees will provide. It also revealed a bit of a mystery.
More on the mystery in just a moment. First, here’s the letter:
Human Resources Department:
This letter is to express gratitude to one of your employees. Her name is Flo and she worked at Quail Gardens on the night of December 28. [Note: Quail Gardens is another name for the San Diego Botanical Garden.]
We noticed Flo at the Gardens because she greeted us as we were walking around enjoying the Christmas lights. Three of us visited the Gardens that evening but ended up exiting near the additional parking lot instead of at the main parking lot. Rather than retrace our steps, we very much underestimated how far it would be to walk around the neighborhood to the main lot.
One in our group uses a cane so he waited for us on a bench at the Seacrest residential facility. After reaching Encinitas Blvd, we stopped at a gas station to ask exactly how much farther we would need to go to get back to Quail Gardens. It was 8:45 pm. The facility was closing at 9:00 pm and we were worried that we could not walk that far in 15 minutes.
That’s when we meant Flo. She remembered us from Quail Gardens and greeted us again when we saw her at the gas station. We offered to pay her to drive us back to the parking lot, and she agreed to drive us but would not accept any money.
We made it back just in time to get the car before the Gardens closed. We then returned to pick up our friend at Seacrest and to explain why it took us so long to get there.
We appreciated the generosity that Flo gave us that night. We are both in our sixties and the walking had already tired us out. We could never have walked the rest of the way to the Gardens.
We hope that Flo’s kindness and generosity can receive some type of recognition for going out of her way to assist us. We know this type of generosity does not happen very often, and hope that Flow can be acknowledged for her kindness.
What customer service leader wouldn’t want to receive this letter?
Flo exhibited many traits of an outstanding customer service professional. She made her guests feel welcome, she connected with them in a personal and authentic way, and she took care to help the guests in a time of need.
Which brings us back to the mystery.
There are no employees named Flo at the San Diego Botanic Garden. They don’t have any Florences or anyone else with a name that sounds like Flo.
The letter was shared with employees but nobody recalled the story.
While Flo remains a mystery, employees have decided they can all embody Flo’s service spirit. The story is very reminiscent of Fred in Mark Sanborn’s The Fred Factor. Like Fred, Flo found a way to make a difference.
It’s a great reminder for anyone in customer service. We can all find a way to make a difference when we’re infused with the spirit of service.
The San Diego Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to visit. The friendly staff enjoy helping guests feel welcome and discover the gardens. If you’re in the San Diego area, consider visiting to see for yourself.