So this evening I attend this season’s first member meeting of the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives. This professional association has been around since 1942 and is chalk full of great folks. Full disclosure in that I am a proud past president of BNSME, having originally joined in 1989.
I get to the Millennium Airport Hotel for the meeting about 10 minutes after the networking begins and I check in. The Vice President for Programs this year, Todd Salansky who owns online thymes, llc, says to me out of the blue “You do the invocation.”
“Huh, what?” I so eloquently reply.
“We don’t have an invocator for tonight, can you do it?”
Well when you’re a past president, you know exactly how crazed the first meeting of the year is for new board members so you know that you gotta say yes, which I did.
For some reason, though, I just trotted my way up to the bar and started chatting with friends and guests. While talking with one of the night’s featured speakers, it dawned on me that I had just agreed to give an invocation and hadn’t written a damn word!
People seem to like my invocations because I usually spend some time on them but holy crapâ€¦I’d now given myself about 15-20 minutes to come up with something that usually takes about 30-40 to write.
Oh and about the computer that I didn’t have on me to write that invocationâ€¦.
So I did what any self-respecting A-Type personality would doâ€¦I marched into the office of the Millennium Airport Hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing and my friend Russ Papia and said “I need to use a computerâ€¦right now.”
Now if you ever looked up the term gracious in the dictionary you’d see Russ’ picture. He’s says without missing a beat “no problem” but instead of putting me at someone else’s desk, he gets up off his seat and gives me his computer.
Let’s reviewâ€¦.this is the man responsible for all the revenue collected at his hotel, fielding much of the food and beverage issues at the Millennium â€¦.which is neither a small nor quiet hotel. And yet he pops up like a jack rabbit for me and says “here you go.” I wrote my invocation, it was applauded (which is not normal for invocations) and it was all because Russ Papia said “here you go.” He served the customer.
There’s a reason Russ has been successful in that position for over 100 years (give or take) and it’s because he delivers not only the revenues but more importantly the kind of memorable customer service that is sadly unique in today’s world.
If you come to Buffalo, please stay at the Millennium Airport Hotel and make a special effort to say hi to my friend, Russ Papia.