Memories to Last a Lifetime


MoMo, Virginia, Elsie, and Mary Grace ice skating at Avon before heading to Steamboat.

Our family started a new tradition four years ago, an annual ski vacation.  We selected Steamboat Springs, Colorado for our ski trip, and although we have considered other locations, all choose to return to Steamboat.  Although we traveled to Steamboat for Spring Break the first year, we weren’t pleased with the lack of snow in March, so since then, we have selected January for the trip.

The stimulus for this vacation is our son-in-law Stephen, who loves to ski.  Our daughter, Tara, skis each year, as do our granddaughters, soon to be thirteen-year-old Mary Grace, soon to be eleven-year-old Elsie, and five-year-old Virginia.  Our other daughter, Chatham, usually comes on this trip, but this year she stayed home to prepare for the birth of her first child (and our first grandson,) Drew, scheduled to arrive in late February.  Her husband, Johnathan, came on the ski trip last year, and Uncle Barry a couple of years ago.   Our close family friend, Maureen (MoMo,) came with us this year, which was her second time for the trip.


The skiers preparing for their first day that all skied.

Although Mike and I have skied many years ago, we have chosen to use this trip to just relax.  We are fine watching our children, grandchildren, and friends ski, and protecting our older hips!

This week of skiing and relaxing provides us a total change of pace from our responsibilities.  While Mike and I usually are working as well as relaxing, the ability to look out at the snow-covered mountains while we work on our computers makes it seem less like work.  This year did involve more work for Mike during this trip since he had to leave Steamboat a few days early to travel to India to speak.

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Sitting at the base watching the skiers.

Being able to watch the grandchildren ski and seeing how much they have developed in their skills, provides a special kind of joy.  Virginia has taken skiing lessons since she was three and she has no fear!  Mary Grace, Elsie, and their parents also take lessons each year.


Mary Grace and Elsie at McKnight’s, our first meal together of the trip.

Our family makes vacations a priority throughout the year, although most of the trips are at the beach or theme parks.  While they are all fun, none are as relaxing as the ski trip.  Our Colorado trip is a total change of pace and scenery.  It is also the only trip that most of the family tries to take together, although work obligations have precluded some from being able to go every year.

You have heard it said that when we are gone all that will remain are our memories and our photos.  I fear that most of what will remain are our memories, not even our photos since many of our photos are left on our phones!

As I think about time, I am reminded that we are blessed to be able to be together, and I am grateful that we are healthy enough to travel.  We never know when that will change.  I am also grateful that we have the financial resources to be able to take these trips together.  While we are making a commitment of time and money to do so, we have the ability to and many cannot.   And as meaningful and fun as these trips are, we can certainly make memories without traveling to Colorado for a ski vacation or to Disney or the beach.

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A wonderful man talking about sourdough starter at the Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat.


Visiting with our Oak Island friends, Al and Margaret Bishop.

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At Lyon’s soda fountain, one of our favorite places!

Making memories is more about being together and making that a priority, more than being in any specific location.

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Having breakfast at Winona’s before Tara and Stephen and girls depart.

However you do it, and wherever you do it, make spending time as a family a priority.  When we grandparents and parents are gone, the memories of our times together will be a comfort to those left behind.

Patti name

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Inspiring Positive Change™

IMG952679A new year affords us the opportunity to start anew, whatever that means to each one of us.  When you read that, New Year’s resolutions probably come to mind.  Those familiar with my writings may recall that I prefer to call these commitments instead of resolutions.  Too often New Year’s resolutions are abandoned before January ends.  I have found it harder to break commitments.  That is if we are really serious about those commitments.

Regardless of what we call them if we do not keep our promises to ourselves, that is much more damaging than not keeping commitments to others.  Easy to talk about and write about, harder to do.  One reason for that is that we are too often creatures of habit.  It is easier to keep on doing the familiar and easy than it is to change ourselves. Personal behavioral change is the hardest change to make.  But hard though it is, many people are successful at it.  What do they have that we don’t?  Nothing.  And everything.

I just read a recent issue of People magazine.  While I don’t read this magazine routinely, I read this one because the Today Show co-anchors, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb are on the cover.  The cover story about the dismissal of anchor Matt Lauer interested me.  While that article was interesting, a much more interesting article was about many people who have lost half of their body size.  This article was inspiring, in part due to my struggle with wanting to lose the same twenty-five pounds I have lost and regained several times.


If we did more of this, there would be less need for New Year’s resolutions.

Inspiring or not, the article will not do a thing for me if I don’t make some changes in my life.  I know what to do.  I know how to do it.  I just haven’t done it.  The article did inspire me, however, in one major way.   As several people profiled in the article talked about, I must find my “why” before the “what” and “how” will work for me.  My “why” must be stronger than my desire to keep on eating, drinking, and doing those things that got and keep me where I am with this challenge.

One time I lost the weight was when I was preparing for daughter Tara’s wedding.  My “why” was crystal clear.  I wanted to look good in wedding photos that I knew we would have forever!  Once that stimulus was over, it was easy to regain the weight.   And there are lots of family photos that I have been in since at weight that I do not like!

Enough about me.  Think about yourself.  What changes do you want to make?  What is your “why?”  Sometimes we have to dig deep to find our “why.”  And our “why” can’t be superficial, for if it is, when we hit the wall, our resolve can turn into resistance.  It is helpful to differentiate the difference in a superficial “why” and one deep enough to see us through the resistance that occurs.

Think about the weight loss example.  A superficial why is appearance, while one deeper is health.  Another example of a deeper “why” regarding weight loss is not liking the person we are at a certain weight; thus, we struggle with the loss of confidence. To become the person we truly want to be, to have the energy to live life to the fullest, is a deeper “why” that will help us conquer the resistance to stay just the way we are.


A car I saw recently.

Inspiring Positive Change in ourselves is some of the hardest change to make.  We are creatures of habit.  Unlike common thought, it takes much longer than twenty-one days to make or break a habit.  My book, A Year in the Life of a Recovering Spendaholic, proved this to me.  And once that year was over, it became easier as time passed to revert to spendaholic behavior.  In that year there was some change that became permanent, but not all.

In this new year, what change (s) do you want to make?  What do you want badly enough to do what is required to conquer the resistance that naturally occurs?

What is your “why?”


The best example of positive change; these precious granddaughters!

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Delta is Ready When You Are!


Delta Sky Club Lounge at RDU, home of our wonderful Customer Care Agent, Kathleen.

Many flying to or through the east coast in the past few days likely had a travel disruption.  The storms throughout the east coast grounded planes, cancelled flights, and displaced luggage.  The airports in New York were especially disrupted with some passengers and luggage waiting for days to be connected.  Mike and I were among the many whose schedules were affected.  We were scheduled to fly from Raleigh to LaGuardia last Thursday am.  That flight was cancelled, as were the two other flights we were booked on.

Our only option to fly out on Friday was less than desirable.  It was in fact, a terrible routing. We were to fly from Raleigh to Atlanta, then to Louisville, then from Louisville to LaGuardia. What is usually a one hour flight from Raleigh to LaGuardia would now be ten hours in airports and in flight. We decided to take it, thinking if we didn’t, it could be days before we might be booked on another flight given all of the rebookings of flights as a result of all of the cancellations.

Friday came, and we headed to the airport earlier than usual to see if we could find another option for our flight.  While the agent at the check-in counter was sympathetic to our situation, she offered no solution.  So, we checked in and headed to the Delta Sky Club Lounge to wait until it was time to board for our first flight of the day.



Delta Sky Club in Atlanta

When we checked into the Sky Club Lounge, we met Kathleen, the customer service agent.  When she checked our boarding pass, she was shocked at our routing.  We talked about it with her for a few minutes, but did not ask her to see if there was anything else available.  We did not ask her to, but she did.

When Mike went back to the desk to check on our flight’s boarding schedule, Kathleen had a better option for us.  She had found two first-class seats on a flight from Atlanta to JFK and had booked them for us.  That change would save us half a day of delays.  Our original seats were not in first class, and my ticket, being a companion ticket, was not even eligible for the upgrade.  Nonetheless, Kathleen booked us on that flight in those seats, at no additional cost!


Mike in his first class seat from Atlanta to JFK.

The flight from Atlanta to JFK was one of my most pleasant flying experiences.  The steward took our coats the minute we boarded.  The plane was nicer than any I have been in domestically.  The seats were spacious and fully reclined.  Our seats were bulkhead seats, which usually means there is no storage capacity in front of them.  These seats, however, had a storage area that holds up to ten pounds.


Surprisingly, although the flight was only one and a half hours in duration, a full meal was served.  The food was delicious and healthy.  The bathroom was larger than any other airline bathroom I have seen and it was brightly lit.  (I, who love light, loved this!)  The lime hand soap in the bathroom was a nice touch.  The glasses our drinks were served in were Alessi.  The details on this flight were impressive.  And most important of all, the stewards were all friendly and accommodating.

Once we landed at JFK, the situation was not as pleasant.  We sat on the tarmac for over an hour waiting for a gate.  Once inside the airport, the crowds of people, some of whom had been waiting a couple of days, were packed into the baggage claim area.  It was chaos.  It was more than two hours later before we found our bags and headed out to get a taxi.  While we were in the taxi line a man approached us with an offer of a limousine to take up to eight people to downtown hotels for a fixed price.  The man approached a couple of other couples around us with the same offer.  While I wasn’t sure this was a good idea, Mike and the others decided it was safe, so that is what we did.  That turned out to be a good decision.


Chaos in baggage claim at JFK

Some of the airport experience at JFK reminded me of the chaos Mike and I was in during our Hurricane Irma experience in St. Maarten in September.  But thankfully, this ended much quicker.  We left the airport and were in our hotel within the hour.


One of many stores in Manhattan!




Patti spent more time in this coffee shop than she did in any other shop.” Yes, really!

What is it that makes one person accept whatever is on a computer screen, even if it is problematic for the customer, and another person search for a better solution for that same customer?  What makes one person willing to find a solution and break the rules for the customer’s benefit, even if that customer isn’t in the upper tier of that airline’s customers?  (Although Mike and I both have been premier customers of Delta in years past, neither one of us is at this point.)

Is the difference in the training?  I don’t think so.  Is the difference in position power?  I don’t believe so since both the check-in agent and the Sky Club agent were front-line customer service agents.  Is it age or experience?  Perhaps those were variables, but I hesitate to assume so. If not these differences, what then?  What accounts for one person going more than the extra mile and the other not?

Is the difference as simple as caring; caring with a capital “C”?  Yes, I think so.

Caring is the difference in many things. Things that matter.

And on a different note, today is my Mother’s birthday. She died in September of 1998.  It is hard to believe it has been almost twenty years.   Rest in peace, Mother.


Patti’s mother, Doris Waldrup Foster

And for those of you who still can, call your Mother!



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Building Anew


Happy New Year from Mike and Patti!

Happy New Year!  May 2018 be a year of health, happiness, and prosperity for you.

Just saying those words and wishing it so, will not make it happen.  Then, what will? Concentrated effort.  Daily disciplines.  Letting go of some things to make room for what we say we desire more. Easy to talk about, yet hard to do.  Every year at this time the gyms are full, for about two weeks.  Then the attendance at them drops off dramatically. At the beginning of January each year weight loss plans have many new converts, for about the same length of time.  As I think about this, it occurs to me that we fail in these efforts not because we aren’t serious about what we want to change.  I believe there is another equally, and maybe even more, important variable.   Unless we commit to what we will give up and what we will let go of, our change efforts will not be successful.  A recent change in our lives is an example of this.

A few months ago, it became obvious that we needed to make significant improvements to our clubhouse at the Oak Island Golf Club, improvements that would be costly.  As part of the ownership and President of the Board, Mike has been directly involved in planning our best option.  We had two viable options.  The first option and the one that initially seemed to make the most sense (mainly due to the anticipated cost involved in the other option) was to renovate the clubhouse.  The other option was to tear down the existing facility and build a new clubhouse.  The Board and General Manager considered both options and after a careful analysis decided that tearing down the existing facility and building a new clubhouse was the best option.  One of the main reasons for this decision was the fact that the difference between the cost of the two options wasn’t significant enough to risk renovating, not really knowing what would be found once the building was opened up.  It is even possible that it could be costlier to renovate than to build a new building.  The corollaries between this situation and other changes, even New Year’s resolutions, is instructive.


Mid demolition of Oak Island Golf Club Clubhouse

The decision makers for the clubhouse change decided to destroy the old and build a new one.  This is similar to us deciding to let go of our old self and build a new self.  In both situations, it is necessary to let go of some things that we enjoy.  In our clubhouse example, one of those is our beloved Duffers, our pub and restaurant.  We have had to let go of the familiar, the known, and the loved.  Since occupying a temporary structure, many club members have expressed how much they miss the clubhouse and Duffers.  When I decided to lose the twenty-five pounds that had found me again, I knew that doing so would involve letting go of some food and beverages I enjoy.  I will miss them as much as our members miss Duffers and our clubhouse!


Letting go and building new, whether it is a new clubhouse or a new self, requires that we be willing to build something different, not just


What remains of Oak Island Golf Club Clubhouse

replicate what we had that was familiar.  For the clubhouse, this means a new design, one that will not include lockers, and that will likely be an overall smaller building.  For my new self, it means a body that will not look the same as one I had even a few years ago, even if I am the same weight.  Aging results in changes, such as wrinkles.  We may decide that keeping a few more pounds than our “ideal” weight is best if doing so keeps some of those wrinkles at bay!


Real change always takes time and requires patience and flexibility.  Our new clubhouse will probably require a year of planning and construction, and while we have a temporary structure, it is without some of the benefits our members enjoy.  We do not have a kitchen that prepares fresh food, and for the first few weeks, we have not had any food available in our temporary structure.  Our members have been very supportive, believing that while we have these limitations now, our new clubhouse will be worth the wait.  They have been willing to give up the familiar and desirable to eventually have something better.  We must do the same when making personal change.



Angie, Steve, and Patti, three of our Duffers favorites!


I have thoroughly enjoyed bread, butter, fried foods, and dessert, and my body is reflective of such.  I will miss those familiar and desirable food items, but I believe that the body I can have will be worth the sacrifices.  If I maintain the daily disciplines of food control and weight management, my new “building,” my new body, can be built in three months.  The changes I must make to have this very reasonable weight loss of two pounds per week will not be easy, but I can do it.  I want to do it.  I will do it.



Mike on the porch of our temporary clubhouse.


What about you?  What changes do you plan to make in 2018?  What are you willing to give up to have what you say is important to you?  Remember, it isn’t enough for us to just commit to what we will do.  We must also give up some of the familiar and desirable to have what we want more.

I wish you great success on your journey!




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Mike’s Christmas Tradition



Mike Fralix, Christmas Ornament Creator Extraordinaire!

Those of you who know me, either in person or through my writings, know how important traditions are to me.  One of my favorite traditions isn’t even mine, although I get to celebrate it each year.  This tradition belongs to my husband, Mike.

Mike and I met in 1983 in Wilson, NC.  We both were there due to our jobs.  I was in hospital administration at the time and had been recruited to Wilson in 1981 by Wilson Memorial Hospital.  Mike was with Blue Bell and had been transferred there in 1982.  We both had a daughter from our first marriages who were there with us.  We met in May of 1983 through the gracious effort of a mutual friend, and I believe, the grace of God.  We married less than a year later, in April of 1984.  In April of 2018, we will celebrate our 34th year of marriage.  Our marriage is (almost!) a daily blessing.  You understand the “almost” part, I am sure!  None of us are saints!

Mike started a Christmas tradition our first Christmas together in 1983 and has continued it every Christmas since. He has purchased a family Christmas ornament every year, and for most of those years, he has had the ornament personalized.  The first year the ornament was a “stock” one with the words, “Our First Christmas Together.”



Our First Christmas Ornament -1983

The second-year Mike went to search for our ornament, he found ornaments with words such as “Our 10TH Christmas Together,” but no “Second Christmas Together.”  He says he remembers not being surprised that there were no “Our Second Christmas Together” ornaments.  Being the innovative guy that he is, he decided to create one!  And he did and has continued to create our family Christmas ornament every year since.


Mike’s first creation

As our family has evolved over the years, Mike’s tradition has as well.  A few years after “Our First Christmas Together” Mike decided to expand the tradition and has personalized the ornaments with the names of all who will sleep over and be with us on Christmas morning.  Most of the years we have been in Raleigh for Christmas, but not all.  In 2003, we travelled to Douglasville, GA for Christmas, where daughter Tara and son-in-law Stephen lived, and Mike began to put the location on the ornament.  Once the grandchildren came, we have travelled to them the years their parents wanted to be home for Christmas.  Those years, the ornament has the names of all who will be together and the location.  One year, 2010, although we were in Raleigh for Christmas, we were living in a different location because our home was being repaired due to water damage.  Our Christmas ornament from that year is marked “Bay Meadow Court 2010.”


Mike’s Christmas ornament tradition is recorded history of our family’s life.  Recently, we were trying to remember what year we lived at Bay Meadow Court and quickly found the answer in the ornaments.  If we need to remember something about our family from a particular year, our ornament from that year is the record.  Examples include the years that our chosen daughter Paula was home with us at Christmas, and when her husband Bryan joined us.  Son-in-laws Stephen and Johnathan joined our family and our ornaments in 2002 and 2007, respectively, the Christmases of the years they married daughters Tara and Chatham.  The year that Dad and Rosie were with us for Christmas was 2006.  Uncle Barry has joined us for Christmas since 2014.  MoMo, (who I introduce sometimes as my oldest daughter and at other times as my younger sister!) has been in the family on the ornament since 2000.  She has not had her own bed at Christmas because the granddaughters insist that she sleep with them, and she does.  This year she was elevated by them, even more, when they insisted that she sit with them at the children’s table for all meals!

The ornaments are an important part of our Christmas, not just of our Christmas traditions. We all look forward to seeing them on the tree.  But like us, some of them are showing their age.  Some of the ornaments have not fared well through the years.  A couple of the ornaments have writing that is difficult to read, and some of the writing is smudged.  But all are still hung on the Christmas tree each year, those that can still be hung.

There are a few ornaments whose hanger has broken, and they now are displayed on an easel. This Christmas, those were displayed on the kitchen counter near the Christmas trees.  Perhaps because they were in a location where we spent a lot of time, the kitchen, the Christmas ornaments were the topic of much interest and conversation.  Uncle Barry commented more than once about how wonderful is Mike’s Christmas ornament tradition.  He and others looked at the ornaments to find when they first became a part of the Christmas ornament tradition.

Granddaughter Elsie was looking at the ornaments on the counter and noticed a name on an ornament that she did not recognize, Dotti.  Dotti is my mother who died in 1998, who Elsie, born in 2007, never knew.  Elsie asked how old my mother was when she died, and I answered, “64.”  Elsie replied in a loud voice, “Nana, you are 66!”  I felt her concern.  We then had a brief conversation about age and health and my mother.  The Christmas ornament taught me a lesson.  I had not made sure that our granddaughters knew their maternal great-grandmother through stories, even though it was not possible for them to know her in person.

As our family has grown in number, it has become harder to get all of the information to fit on the ornaments.  Last year and again this year we had this problem.  Once again, the innovator Mike came up with a solution to that problem.  He bought two of the same ornaments and had the names written on both sides, then glued the two ornaments together.

Christmas traditions, ornaments, and memories.  When we look at our family’s Christmas ornaments, we go down memory lane.  In 1983 when Mike and I were engaged and about to marry and combine our families, our ornament of that year recorded our history.  In 2017, our ornament is the recorded history of our expanded family, our two daughters and their families, including our three granddaughters, Mary Grace (12,) Elsie (10,) and Virginia (5.)  Our 2017 ornament also includes a new family member, our soon to be born grandson Drew, due February 20, 2018.  What blessings!


May you and your loved ones continue to create memories and traditions of your own.  It is our memories and traditions that ground us and that keeps us connected.  This is more important than ever before, as our world is increasingly more disconnected.

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A Magical Time of the Year!


One of our two Christmas trees this year!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  You are probably singing the lyrics of that song while you read those words!  Most people would agree that this is a wonderful or even most wonderful time of the year.   There are many reasons for this, the least of which relates to the presents we receive.  Now the presents we give, that is another matter.  It is better to give than receive, although there is nothing wrong with receiving.


The second of our two Christmas trees this year!

But let’s put presents aside for a moment and talk about the other ways in which this time of the year is magical.  In fact, presents are not even a part of some of the celebrations enjoyed at this time of the year, nor are Christmas trees, although they are in our home.  Different cultures have different celebrations and that is to be honored.  In fact, I am fine with saying “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas.”  I do not agree that either greeting should be problematic, as long as we are all respectful of others’ rights to believe and celebrate those beliefs in whatever manner they choose.  I even accept that others have a different opinion about this!

The beauty of the season is one way in which it is magical.  While I usually do not look forward to the work involved in decorating, once it is done, the beauty brings me joy and I decide it is all worth it. I am always amazed at how bare our home looks when the decorations are taken down.  I decorated more in years past, and miss some of that, but I have scaled down and am okay with what is missing.  While I do miss some of the decorations, especially the Williamsburg style apple wreath that graced the front door, I do not miss the time it took for those.


Patti as a child at her grandmother Grace’s house.

While many people spend hours cooking and baking at this time of the year, I do not.  I certainly enjoy the fruits of others’ labors and do cook some meals and bake some, but not to the extent that some other people do.  I do not need the calories I would consume!

While I have not sent Christmas cards for many years, I usually do send New Year’s cards, although our list has gotten shorter through the years.  We have only sent a Christmas letter once that I recall, although I do enjoy receiving them.  We have never sent a Christmas card or New Year’s card with photos of us and/or our children or grandchildren, although I enjoy receiving those also and we may change that this year.  I have kept many of the photo cards of family and friends and enjoy going down memory lane looking at those, amazed at how the children have grown into adults.  This year I may send a photo of Mike and me with our granddaughters in our New Year’s cards, at least to family and friends that we do not see often, assuming I get the photos printed in time!



Our three precious granddaughters Mary Grace (12), Elsie (10) and Virginia (5) make Christmas so special!


The real magic of the season to me is the time spent with family and friends.  Like Thanksgiving, the best part of Christmas to me is the “being together” part.  We attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, then have dinner, usually at home.  Most years, the children and now grandchildren open one of their presents on Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day, watching the granddaughters get so excited opening their presents, having a leisurely breakfast, and preparing for our family Christmas dinner are some of our Christmas Day traditions.

Traditions.  What are your traditions for this magical time of the year?  How do you celebrate? It really doesn’t matter how we celebrate, but it is important that we do.  After all, we have much to celebrate.  Many of our celebrations are secular, and there is nothing wrong with that. But many of us celebrate this season for another reason, an even more important reason, a spiritual and religious one.  Whatever your beliefs, make time for celebrating them.


Granddaughter Virginia said her drink is “like Jesus’s blood, Holy Christ our Lord!”

In the midst of our blessings, let’s remember to give to those who give to us in service through the year, and to those who are less fortunate.

May your 2017 holiday be magical!


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What We Say Matters

Redeye Grill

I just returned from a very quick (one day!) trip to Manhattan.  I love being in the city, especially during the Christmas season.  So, going for one day is better than not being able to be there at all, especially at this time of the year.  The beautiful Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, the window displays in so many stores, and the magical feel of the hustle and bustle of the city all beckoned to me.  Although this trip was especially short, I was glad that I went.  Even with 18-degree weather and air traffic delays, it was more than worth it.  And this time, there was another reason that made the trip special.  The service of a restaurant maître d.



My favorite store’s window displays.


Redeye Grill is a restaurant that Mike and I have enjoyed many times through the years.  The food is always delicious, the décor is inviting, and the service has always been good. This time, we expected no less.  We probably did not expect anything out of the ordinary, however.  I certainly did not expect to hear six simple words that would create an excellent customer service experience, one that I will long remember.  But that is what happened.

We did not have a reservation, and would not have been surprised if we had to wait before being seated.  After all, this is a very busy season.  When we arrived at the hostess stand, I was expecting to be asked, “Do you have a reservation?”  Instead, we were greeted with a “Hello,” a smile, and the words, “Did we know you were coming?”  The tone of voice was warm and friendly, and those six simple words, “Did we know you were coming?” was a much better way to ask, “Do you have a reservation?”  I hope that you can hear and feel the difference.

I have taught and spoken about customer service for many years.  In those sessions, I have recommended against what I refer to as “Smiles Training.”  You know the drill.  The service provider says, “Have a nice day” when it is 9 o’clock at night as he throws your food across the counter!  And, how many times have you been asked, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”  Smiles training.  Ineffective in creating a positive memorable experience.



The beautiful Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza.


Think about the difference in “Do you have a reservation?” and “Did we know you were coming?”  The words “Do you have reservation” puts the burden on the customer and is more of a negative experience if the customer has to say, “No,” recognizing that it is easier for the establishment and the customer if a reservation was made.  The words “Did we know you were coming” puts the responsibility more on the establishment.”  Hear the difference between “Did You?” and “Did we?”  A simple, but powerful difference.

Surprisingly, we did not have to wait to be seated.  And right after being seated, the same customer service expert maître d brought us each a glass of champagne!   The food and service that followed continued the excellent experience.



A few of the many Christmas baubles that line the streets.”


I do not know if the Redeye Grill has trained its staff to say, “Did we know you were coming?” instead of “Do you have a reservation?”  That does not even matter to me unless it becomes so rote that it is meaningless.  What matters is that those six words created a positive and memorable customer service experience that will remain with me.  That is more important than the champagne, although that nice touch further enhanced the experience.

I am encouraged to listen to my own words and find ways to make them more positive and engaging.  It is such a simple thing, but certainly not easy.

I will remember how I felt when asked, “Did we know you were coming?”


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