I wrote about a recent trip I took to a funeral and my stay at the Holiday Inn Sioux Falls City Centre.
This originally was going to be part of my review post. But trip reviews are long enough, as-is. And the hotel’s employees deserve to be mentioned publicly.
I interacted a few times with the staff: at check-in, the next morning when I asked the front desk people about where to get my airport shuttle, and the shuttle’s driver.
I understand that providing good hospitality is part of their jobs. But these folks genuinely were friendly, helpful, and eager to please. They smiled a lot, made eye contact — truly listening to whatever question I asked.
Honest to heaven: they were like Disneyland Employees good. (I wouldn’t have been shocked had they spontaneously broken out in song and offered photo ops.) The only other staff that comes close are the crew at The Strings by InterContinental in Tokyo.
But someone, in particular, stood out: Mick the Airport Shuttle Driver, who is truly one of the more memorable people I’ve met during my life.
Mick: The Legend
Mick had the classic Midwest accent out of Fargo. And he is one of the kinder people I’ve ever met.
“So where ya from, if ya don’t mind my askin’?” he said as we pulled out of the porte-cochere. I told him I’m originally from Fargo but now live in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. “Oh, you rascal, you!” he said with a big laugh.
During our ten-minute drive, we talked about the funeral later that day, the weather (we’re middle-aged guys — it’s what we do), our families (he just came back from a Colorado road trip), and a couple of routes from Sioux Falls to Pipestone. He also seemingly made a pitch for me to move back to the Upper Midwest. He’s like the mayor or chamber of commerce or something!).
As we pulled into the airport, his voice dropped a little. His eyebrows angled down.
“Is your family healthy and safe and everything? Everybody doing OK?” he asked with genuine interest and concern, as though he personally knew them.
I told him we’re alright. Then I asked about his family. They, too, are doing well.
As I exited the fan, Mick said, “Listen, if there’s no rental car for ya, give us a call. I don’t know that I can drive you to Pipestone today. But we can probably figure something out for you.”
He wasn’t putting on an act or plotting for a bigger tip. (If he was, then it’s the best acting job I’ve ever seen.) He was just being an exceptionally nice, concerned guy.
I contacted the hotel’s general manager so she, too, knows about my experience at the property — but especially with Mick.
Maybe I’m jaded (not maybe — I am). I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before and my emotions were edgy that morning. Did that have anything to do with my perceptions? Maybe, maybe not. But I feel that exceptional staff is worthy of a blog post.
Many hotel execs and loyalty programs either read blogs like Eye of the Flyer — or quickly find out if something is written about their company. (For example…) Usually, it’s something we’re complaining about helpfully suggesting. But truly terrific, exceptional work must be recognized, as well.
To the suits at IHG and Holiday Inn: be proud of the Holiday Inn Sioux Falls City Centre employees. Mick especially is a true legend.
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