A week ago Friday afternoon my wife received a phone call saying that my young adult son, Paul, had collapsed at work. Paramedics had been called and he was on his way to the emergency room. I was out running errands, but rushed home to wait for further news from his sister who was at the emergency room with him. I packed a bag and started looking for flights to Seattle. After arriving at the hospital he a two significant seizures requiring 6 people to hold him down.   

By the time I arrived at the hospital on Saturday morning he was in the neuro ICU at Seattle’s Harborview Hospital, with no recollection of what had happened and no clear diagnosis of why it had and was happening. After 3 very scary days, and still with no clear determination as to why this all took place, he is out of the hospital, back to classes at the University of Washington and will return to work on Monday.

Above And Beyond Management

I careMy son is a full time student and works full-time at the Quality Inn just a block from the Space Needle. The  hotel he works for is a fairly new acquisition by Blackstone Hospitality Group, a small California based hotel management organization. The owner of the management organization, Braxton Meyer, is currently living at the hotel and serving as the general manager while overseeing a significant renovation effort.  

When my son collapsed, Braxton followed the ambulance to the hospital to make sure that, when my son came around, he would have someone familiar there with him until my daughter arrived. Late Saturday afternoon I called Braxton to give him an update on my son’s condition and to say thanks for going the extra mile in making sure Paul was well cared for.

He immediately told me that all he cared about was that Paul got better. He then offered me a hotel room for as long as I needed to stay, at no charge. He also assured me that Paul would have a job when he was well. Over the 5 days I stayed in the hotel I got to visit with Braxton several times about the hotel business and, not surprisingly, there are a lot of parallels with the senior living industry.

The Story Everyone Knows

By the time I left the hotel virtually everyone who worked there knew that my son had had a medical emergency at work. They also knew Braxton, the owner, the top dog, the chief of everything, went the extra five miles in doing the right thing for my son. They knew he went to the hospital and they knew he gave me a free room for several days. Most importantly they can assume that he would do the same thing for them.

What makes this all work is critical. Braxton did what he did because he has a heart for giving his employees a good life. That means that he feels a great responsibility for caring for and creating opportunities for his team. It also means he did these things and would do them again because he gets genuine pleasure in seeing the happiness and appreciation his team has for him.

The end result is that his staff like him, trust him, and want to please him, and that attitude is reflected in the work they do and the interactions they have with customers. This will mean great success for his hotels. 

The irony of this whole thing is that he does it primarily because he cares not because it is good business. This should be the model for every senior living community since caring is what we are all about.

Do you have a story of going the extra mile you would be willing to share?