by Alister Fuller
I have no problems asking. The worst that can happen is that I will receive a resounding NO. So what! However, what if it goes the ‘best case scenario’ way? Then so many things can happen including me writing this story and narrating this story over a 100 times.
I started with this introduction because recently I told a close friend this story and he told me that it was a classic. That I should write and publish it for all to read. So I took his advice and got down to writing it. So here it goes.
21 January 2014 was my 25th wedding anniversary. A couple of years earlier my wife and I were deciding on how to celebrate. By that time we had bought and sold many properties and took the profits and invested it in businesses and lost most of it. So this time my wife decided that the next house we sell we are going on a “trip of a lifetime”. In AUSTRALIA we call it “a dream holiday” or “no expense spared holiday”. I could not agree more.
So we decided it was going to be Canada, Alaska and the bonus was The East Coast of the USA. We did a lot of research, went for travel expo’s and seminars looking for the best luxury and the best deal.
We settled for Flight Centre as the Travel Agent and “APT” as the tour operator. The deal breaker was a 2 for the price of 1, 7 day bonus tour of the East coast of USA by a 30 seater private jet involving 11 short flights and bus trips to local 4/5 star hotels and sightseeing parks and tours. We did not know what to expect but looking back I can confidently say that we were treated like celebrities, especially when we landed in Las Vegas our Jet parked alongside a string of private jets and a black limo luxury bus with all the LED lights, leather seats, bells and whistles which took us to our hotel. Canada and Alaska were truly amazing and the highlight was Lake Louise where all APT travelers were given a “room with a view” which was priceless. For my wife it was her dream to visit Butchart Gardens in Victoria B.C., which was breathtaking. I could go on and on about our trip of a lifetime. However, I need to get back to my story of “Ask and you shall receive”.
After waiting anxiously for the day to arrive, which seemed like forever, it finally did. It was the 26th August 2013. We cannot forget that date because the number locks were set to 2 6 8 (oh no I gave away our secret). I wanted to do something special for my wife. I like surprises. Sometimes they work and most times they don’t. I was going to take a chance here.
I know she likes Pop Corn. The home made one. Pretty hard to make pop corn without her knowing about it because the whole house smells of pop corn. I somehow managed to make it without her knowing. I packed it in a plastic bag to give it to her on this long flight to LA as a surprise. I made other plans too which you will read in the rest of the story.
We boarded a Qantas flight from Melbourne to LA on the big bird (A380). After a few hours cruising over the pacific at 40000 ft I decided to put my plan into action. My wife was sleeping so I got to work.
I asked the hostess to call the flight manager because I had a request to make. She obliged and few minutes later a tall, well dressed gentleman came towards me. I stood up, took him aside so that I did not disturb the wife and I made my request. I told him that I have an offer to make with him. He was surprised and looked more cautious than curious. I told him that we were on a trip of a lifetime to celebrate our 25th wedding Anniversary and that I wanted to surprise my wife so here’s the deal. “I will give you $1000 cash if you can put us both in business class for just 2 hrs to experience what it felt like in business class (BC). I came up with this idea just to surprise my wife”. He gave me a puzzled look and politely told me that he could not do that although there were empty seats in BC because it was not fair on the BC full paying passengers and secondly he could not accept any cash from passengers. However, he said that he had something better for me. He told me that there was a private lounge on the top deck in the first class section of the aircraft which had a 2 seater private lounge suite with a big 43in TV and that we could be there for how ever long we wanted. I was totally wrapped. I was not going to turn down this offer. He asked me to follow him. I woke up the Mrs and with a surprised look on my face I told her that the manager wants to take us somewhere and I don’t know what’s happening. In her sleepy state I gave her no time to respond because the manager was waiting for us to follow him which we both did hurriedly.
It was quite a long walk from the back of the aircraft then up the stairs then to the front. We reached this area and he directed us to sit on a comfortable lounge suite in front of this big TV. He told my wife that we could sit there for as long as we wanted. She was shocked and asked me how did this happen. I told her that the manager was passing by and I casually told him that it was our 25th wedding anniversary holiday of a lifetime and he said he had a surprise for us. She believed me. She was shocked that this was happening. We were served by the Manager himself. Politely he asked us what we would like to have. He brought me a scotch on the rocks and a cappuccino for my wife with some snacks. It was then that I remembered the Pop Corn. So I took him aside so that my wife could not hear me and told him that I had pop corn in a blue bag in the over head locker and that I will go and get it. He said that he would get it and for me to just relax. I could not believe the service we were getting. He came back few minutes later with 2 glass bowls of pop corn. My wife was totally shocked. WOW! Big screen TV, comfortable private lounge suite, 40000 ft in the air and “Pop Corn”. She could not believe what was happening. I pretended that I was surprised too and thanked the Manager for this experience. Of course I had no control over the remote control. I had my Chivas so I was happy.
What surprised me the most with the Amazing Service and thoughtfulness of the Manager was that he put the pop corn in 2 modern glass bowls. I packed it in a flimsy plastic freezer bag. In his busy schedule he took the trouble to go to my seat, find the pop corn and present it so well to make it look so professional. I gave him 10 out of 10 for his outstanding service. It does not take much to excel in customer service. With employees like this, It is no wonder that QANTAS is one of the most progressive, successful, well managed and profitable airlines in the world.
Great way to start a “Holiday of a Lifetime”. Something that my wife and I would never forget and extremely grateful for.
Presently I work at Melbourne airport and one day I told this story to a man who happened to be a Qantas Flight Manager Trainer. He was so impressed that he said he was going to use this story in his training. Because of that one good gesture, I have promoted Qantas to countless friends and acquaintances. Just a small gesture like that can make a holiday. I am so glad “I asked”.
The moral of this story is “Ask and you shall receive”. I would go further with this theory. “seek and you shall find”, like Jim Rohn once said “finding is reserved for the seekers”, “knock and the door will be opened for you”. Imagine if all of us “asked” all the time? How many good news stories we would be able to tell!