Last week I had a quick business trip to St. Louis — In on Tuesday afternoon, out on Wednesday afternoon. My first several hotel choices were booked so I ended up at the Clayton Plaza Hotel more out of necessity than anything else. The room and other amenities were middle of the road. Let’s put it this way it wouldn’t have crossed my mind to stay there again if it wasn’t for two superstar employees, Roberto at the front desk and Tom the Omelet Maker in the restaurant.
When I arrived Tuesday evening I received a warm greeting from Roberto who obviously was out to impress me. He was friendly, efficient and super helpful when I asked him about local dining alternatives. He directed me to Barcelona, which is “his favorite place”. His referral was hard to refuse and his assessment and description of the place was spot on! The service there was average however the food made up for any miscues by my less than attentive server.
I got back to the hotel and slept well in spite of a noisy air conditioning unit. The next morning I made my way to the Clayton Plaza Free Breakfast Buffet. Never a big fan of the food trough concept, I couldn’t beat the price and convenience. After an underwhelming greeting by the hostess at the front door, I followed my nose toward the smell of sandbagged bacon and eggs. That’s when I ran into Tom. Sporting a white apron and food prep gloves, Tom had stepped away from his duties as the Chef Du Omelet to see if I needed help. He greeted me with a smile that was warm and friendly in spite of a couple of missing teeth. He asked if I’d been a guest there before. When I told him this was my first visit he took me on a mini-tour of the place pointing out where all the breakfast delicacies were located. It didn’t take me long to figure out that Tom’s fresh made omelets were the way to go. I was going to wait at the omelet station while he prepared my spinach, tomato cheese and sausage omelet until Tom politely instructed me, “Go ahead and sit down sir, I’ll be happy to serve your omelet at the table!”
Tom went above and beyond his job description. When he delivered my fresh, piping hot, delicious omelet – he informed me that he’s the greeter, the cook and the server! He seemed genuinely happy to be doing all three jobs even though he was picking up the slack for the others on the floor who seemed to be doing a whole lot of nothing. Tom saved the day for that shabby crew and I made sure he received a just reward.
I may have an opportunity to return to St. Louis. If I do I might just book a room at the Clayton Plaza Hotel – thanks to Tom and Roberto