I just got back from speaking to a wonderful group of credit union marketers in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
I have to admit, I wasn’t real excited about flying to Wausau Airport, driving 25 miles South to a Holiday Inn. I mean, come on. This hotel’s website boasts an indoor water park. Not the kind of resort “the princess” usually stays in. Boy was I wrong.

First of all I have to give the H.I. big snaps for really building a reputation of solid, dependable, clean and friendly hotels. This hotel was beautiful, nicely appointed, super reasonably priced and the employees beyond friendly.

After speaking all day I was exhausted. Didn’t feel like driving anywhere, or being a hermit with room service so I decided to venture down to the “Little Bar” and get a Shnack. Like the name implies, it’s a little bar. A couple of little tables with chairs and a pretty good sized bar, kind of curved with comfy bar stools. I got one of the last seats at this bar. It immediately felt like a party, and now I know why. Dennis, the bartender.

Dennis shook my hand, introduced himself and then accurately guessed my preference for martini. Bombay Sapphire, up. It was perfection. I told him so. Dennis told me that he’d been bar tending for 44 years, it should be good. As each person came into the bar Dennis not only introduced himself, but flawlessly introduced the new arrival to all the other bar guests. Turns out the Little Bar does not serve food. No worries. I got my food (took Dennis’ recommendation and ordered the salmon) delivered from the restaurant next door. Dennis knows people.

As soon as my fish arrived, I was thinking, hmmmm chardonnay would go nice with this. Swear to god, I did not say it out loud. Dennis came up to me and said, “Shall I get you a glass of white wine to go with your meal?” Impressive.

It was hard to leave the Little Bar. But since I had to get up at 3:30 the next morning to fly home, I bid my new friends a fond farewell. Then I asked Dennis if I could take his picture and post him on my blog. Well, of course I could and I got a great big hug to boot. Everyone in the bar waved and said goodnight to me. When was the last time that happened to you?

It’s not often I get to meet people like Dennis. He embodies the spirit of customer service. It’s truly not a job for him, it’s his passion. You can tell he loves his life, his wife, and serving people. Dennis, thank you for the experience. I look forward to my next trip to America’s Dairyland.

SIDEBAR: We had an awesome discussion at the conference about the California Happy Cows campaign. Seriously. How can they be happy with all that smog? Have you been to Southern Cal lately? You can’t eve see the sky. You don’t see too many restaurants boast “California Cheddar” on their menu. You CAN buy that cheese at 7-11 though. It’s gas station cheese. Wisconsin Cheddar Rocks!!