My husband and I gave ourselves a weekend getaway for our 19th anniversary, just a 2-hour drive from our home to a seaside resort town.  We chose a modest “resort” hotel, simply because we found a good deal on it through Groupon, and in March in New England, we weren’t going to be strolling any beaches or anything.  Our anniversary coincides with my husband’s birthday, so this was an added incentive to celebrate.

We arrived amidst gail-force winds and rain, soaking us on the short walk from car to reception desk. There inside the warm lobby were four very cheery, very young clerks, two of whom were offering us complimentary cocktails and snacks involving chocolate.  We immediately forgot the miserable storm outside.

The weather didn’t improve for our Friday evening and Saturday stay.  Shops were within walking distance of the resort, but it was folly to attempt to walk to them.  We were content to read books at a warm coffee shop and choose a fine restaurant for our Saturday evening out.

We were shocked, upon our return from Saturday dinner, to find not one but two gift bags delivered to our door by one of the clerks who had greeted us on Friday with the cocktails.  Apparently she had overheard my husband and me talking about our anniversary and his birthday when we checked in—and she hadn’t forgotten it.

The first package contained well wishes on our anniversary, complete with wine and two wine glasses; the second contained birthday wishes and a bottle of locally brewed beer, with a lovely beer glass and anchor-themed bottle opener.  Again, any dreary thoughts at the miserable weather were dissipated instantly.

Clearly that young clerk had been empowered by someone in the organization to follow her instincts and go the extra mile—or two—when she felt it appropriate.  We weren’t big spenders. We weren’t return customers.  We were just average travelers passing through in a dreary March.

And, now, we have booked a room at this previously unfamiliar resort during high season, to give as a wedding gift to a beloved nephew.

And we’ve let the management know what that clerk did for us.