Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs Win Dermody, the veteran shuttle and taxi driver with a reputation for being the grand master of customer service in Ski Town USA, recently regaled a Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association gathering with a story about a visiting physician who broke her arm in a skiing accident. The doc consequently lost her wedding band only to have a ski patrolman and a tiny rodent help her husband recover the precious jewelry a day later.
I know, it sounds like a fairy tale, but I promise you, the furry little critter did not speak a single word.
Dermody heard the story when he picked up the couple at Sheraton Steamboat Resort to give them a private ride to the airport.
“When the physician fell, she immediately felt her left hand start to swell,” Dermody said.
Knowing from experience that if she didn’t take her ring off immediately, it would be painfully stuck there for some time to come, the woman promptly removed it from her ring finger and carefully zipped it into the pocket of her ski jacket.
Upon arrival at Yampa Valley Medical Center, the injured physician received the same excellent care that all patients experience there. Hospital officials have many stories to share about skiing doctors and visiting hospital administrators who wind up in their emergency room and later send letters of praise for the personal care they received.
The only problem this patient had was that when she rose put her ski jacket on and leave after her broken bone was set, the ring was not in the pocket where she expected to find it.
The next morning, with a little time to spare before they had to leave for the airport, the husband rode up the Steamboat gondola to squeeze in a couple of last runs. As he skied down Heavenly Daze, he spied a ski patrolman and stopped to say that his wife had been in an accident the preceding day very close to the spot where they were standing and might have lost her wedding band.
“Where exactly?” the ski patrolman asked.
“Right over there by that snowmaking hydrant,” the husband replied.
As the two men moved in the direction of the accident scene from the day before, the husband noticed a flash of motion on the snow.
“What is that?” he asked.
“It’s a vole,” the patroller answered.
And at that moment, the husband looked down at the rodent and spied his wife’s wedding band sitting on the snow right next to the little, gray creature.
It would have made a great newspaper column if at that moment the vole had stood on its hind legs and pronounced, “I hereby inflict upon you the Yampa Valley curse! You will return to the vale of the hot springs for the rest of your natural lives.”
But it didn’t happen that way, Dermody assured his audience.
However, I can share with you Dermody’s favorite piece of advice about customer service.
“If you find yourself within 10 feet of a guest and you are able to make eye contact but they don’t say anything, then you speak to them.”
It sounds simple, and it is.
You can ask them anything. “Where are you from?” “How was your day?” “Have you lost your wedding ring?” “How do you feel about talking mice?” Those just might prove to be the magic words to unlock a positive experience for a valued guest. Or you might get slapped.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com