I always hear about the passion of the entrepreneur, and the dedication of the small business owner. I am used to working alongside my CEO clients with long hours, late nights and an impassioned focus on the vision of the company.
But every once in a while, I am caught off guard by seeing this dedication in action when I’m not looking for it.
I was on a weekend holiday with my husband, hanging out in Monterey following a friend’s wedding in Big Sur. We stopped in for supper at an authentic English pub. It was the night of the Big Game (don’t ask me which Big Game) – and there was standing room only in both the bar and the adjoining dining room. The hostess was an elegant small woman in a simple black dress, and she might have been the manager, as she was directing all this traffic and people, keeping a real smile on her face, and assuring us she would find us a seat. We assured her the pub seats were fine, no need to wait on a place in the dining room to clear. Of course, there were no seats in either, and folks three-deep standing at the bar cheering and booing.
We chatted with the locals a short while, when the hostess appeared, ducking under the arm of a couple of very tall men roaring their support for the home team. She had found us a small table in the bar, and escorted us to it. She was bubbly and friendly and I remember thinking she was an excellent choice as hostess, and how much her manager or boss must appreciate her.
After a hearty supper of Cottage Pie and a half pint of Taunton’s finest cider, while my husband was paying the barman, I slipped through the crowd (Big Game still ongoing) and found this excellent hostess, with a fiver in my hand. I believe in tipping for excellent service, and she had provided it.
“I must say what excellent work you do,” I said, offering her the cash.
She laughed and said she couldn’t take it. “Thank you so much,” she continued, “but I am the owner.” And she beamed. And I beamed.