There are times when you start a day with high expectations and end up disappointed with how the day actually turned out. Then, there are days like this one which start out miserably but then flourish with each passing hour until you look back at day’s end and can’t quite believe the dream of a day you just had.
Here’s how the story goes. I woke up with a rather unpleasant case of food poisoning (not that there is any “pleasant” kind of food poisoning to be had). I’ll spare us all of the details because I’m sure we know what it’s like. Let’s just say, I turned up at the office not quite at the top of my game.
Expecting to just grind the day out with random trips to the bathroom, my dear General Manager at Pan Pacific Singapore, Mr. Ivan Lee, pulled the first surprise of the day.
So it all started two weeks ago when Ivan told me he was transiting in Hong Kong’s airport on the way to Osaka. Knowing that I’m from Hong Kong, he asked if I would like anything from home. Half-jokingly, I said I’d love some lo poh beng (also known as “wife cakes”). They’re a famous Hong Kong tea time snack and I’ve made a habit of requesting for them every time someone stops by Hong Kong. But honestly I didn’t put much thought to it because I figured Ivan had a lot more to do on his whirlwind Japan trip than to lug back some heavy wife cakes.
Turns out that on his return trip, the flight from Osaka to Hong Kong was delayed so he almost had no time to catch his connecting flight back to Singapore.
When he got back he Skyped me to explain the situation and apologised for not having time to get the wife cakes. I was just surprised that he remembered because I almost forgot about it myself. I laughed it off and told him not to worry about it.
Fast forward to my Day of Food Poisoning and ‘lo and behold, Ivan presents me with a box of wife biscuits. I was dumbfounded.
“How did you get…?!!”
Turns out that Ivan, wanting to make up for not delivering on his promise to get wife biscuits in Hong Kong, actually had Pan Pacific Singapore’s own pastry chef make a batch of her signature wife cakes for me, nicely packaged in a golden box!
In the hotel industry, we like to tout service as a strength, as a source of pride. But in today’s increasingly business-oriented world where everything follows standard protocol and procedure, it’s all too easy to lose that personal touch of service that truly makes our industry special. It’s moments like this that I’m fully reminded why I work in the hotel industry, why some of the crazy days are all worthwhile — because the people are amazing, the sort that are in this line of work because they, innately, are just caring people that find joy in making someone’s day.
So Ivan and Chef Winnie, THANK YOU. Thank you for going the extra mile, for spending as much attention on a colleague as you would on a guest. You really, REALLY made my day when that day should have turned out badly.
And can I just say I am so proud of our team at Pan Pacific Singapore?!! The hotel is Singapore’s #1 hotel on Trip Advisor and I just experienced why.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, our CEO Mr. Patrick Imbardelli confirmed that the company was going to support my 250km Sahara Race. I know the idea of wanting to do such a race sounds a bit “out there” and could lead to questions about your sanity, but to have your company turn around and say, “That’s great. Go do it. We’re behind you 100%”… that’s just incredible.
You people are awesome. This otherwise lousy day just turned into a dream because of you. Thank you thank you thank you.