Dateline: Intercontinental Hotel, Downtown Miami. Hot August.
Thunderstorms were rolling across Biscayne Bay when my taxi pulled partially under the portico. The driver popped open the trunk and a grinning bellman ran to the rear of the car. He motioned to the driver to move forward.
“I didn’t want you to get wet, Ms. Eileen,” grinned the bellman as he helped me out of the car.
“You read my luggage tag,” I exclaimed as her grinned back. How smart, I thought. At least he didn’t attempt to pronounce my crazy last name!
“Do you have your cell phone with you?”, he asked as he escorted me up the stairs.
I fumbled for it, thinking he was going to give me some new-fangled way to check in.
“Oh no,” he laughed. “It’s just that so any guests hop out of cabs and leave their phone behind. I make sure and note the taxi number in case you forgot it.”
Meet Bill Castillo, my new friend for the next 2 days. Every time I walk out of the hotel, Bill spies me and comes running over to greet “Ms. Eileen.”
Now—keep in mind that I travel with a roll-a-board suitcase. There is nothing for him to help me with. No huge suitcases. No cartons of books. There’s no financial gain for him. But, he assumed a leadership role for his front-of-the-hotel position. Great leaders know they create the environment. Great leaders know that calling someone by name—with welcome and sincerity—is a powerful, yet simple gesture.
On a day when the stock market fell over 600 points and Congress can only respond with divisive name-calling, Bill Castillo called my name and added a touch of cheer to my day.
P.S. He will get a tip—regardless.