Recently, I took my family to Disneyland for a weekend of fun and magic. Anyone that knows us understands that our family is very much a “Disney family.” Just like every trip to Disneyland, there was a lot of excitement about all the fun rides, shows, fireworks, and characters.
If you have ever taken your family to the happiest place on earth, you know that it doesn’t always go smoothly nor is it relaxing.
Catching the tranquil rush-hour traffic in LA on a Friday afternoon really set the mood. The continuous rain on Saturday added to the magic. Then the aching feet and empty wallet on Sunday just sealed the deal.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Disneyland, and this trip was no exception. I am a huge advocate for what Disney is all about and a big fan of the effort put into giving every guest a pixy dust experience. But I was tired and ready to be home!
So as we drove home Sunday evening, we zipped over the Grapevine, amazed by the snow that had fallen since we passed through just 2 days earlier, and headed into our beautiful valley we call home. The little man was passed out in the back seat and we knew that we would have to wake him up so we could get some dinner. We decided to stop in Bakersfield to use the bathroom and get some food.
Hunter had been awesome the entire weekend. The kid hadn’t had a single melt down the whole time. For a 2 year old, that’s saying something! That luck promptly ran out. We walked into the Denny’s on Buck Owens Drive, and the screaming and crying commenced. That’s when Tyrena came into the picture.
She walked us to a table, passing the typical looks of concern and “look at that poor, sad child.” Those looks and thoughts don’t really bother me, especially coming from people eating dinner at Denny’s on a weekend. C’mon, we all know you don’t come here expecting the same environment as Ruth’s Chris people. Get over it. He’s a kid, we are 100 miles from home, we just woke him up from a very late nap, and I could care less if your pancake dinner was interrupted for a few minutes.
As we sat down, Tyrena asked us what he likes to drink and sped off to get him a chocolate milk. Moments later, she returned with a small bowl of goldfish crackers and took our order. As she took off to get our food, I told Jessica that the goldfish were a nice touch. After what seemed to be no more than 30 seconds, she brought out Hunter’s chocolate chip pancakes (“pay-pays”) and suddenly, this distraught and miserable toddler was in heaven.
A whole weekend at a place where customer service is paramount, and what meant the most was this server who brought out goldfish and pancakes. It actually made me… happy. It made me think – Sometimes, just doing the small things to help people feel at ease can be as valuable as any gimmicks or themed experience.
Needless to say, our server got a great tip. Thank you Tyrena.