‘Tis a privilege … | VailDaily.com

‘Tis a privilege …

The famous Denver Post Newspaper publisher, Frederick G. Bonfils, wrote, “‘Tis a privilege to live in Colorado.” While that may be true, I personally believe that it is even a greater privilege to live in the Vail Valley. Here are a few of the reasons why:Cobalt skies, snow-capped peaks, sunshine, powder days, cool summer evenings, aspens turning in the fall, trout-filled streams, endless hiking and biking trials are just the backdrop. What makes this valley truly special are its people – people who, even when I’m having a bad day, have a knack of bringing a smile to my face or if nothing else, at least make that day a little better.Postal workers are the butt of numerous jokes, but not all postal workers are like Seinfeld’s Newman. Some, like everyone I’ve come in contact with at the Edwards post office, is welcoming and customer-oriented. I don’t think there’s ever been an instance when at least one or two of the staff doesn’t greet me with a hearty smile and a big hello-giving credence to the saying that it’s the little things that count.The same can be said for Monica’s Donoso’s staff at the Edwards Wells Fargo Branch. Dan, Nicole, Edna and the rest are simply the best at making me feel welcome.Normally, when I write commentaries feting workers in the valley, I shy away from commenting on restaurants because tastes in food and drink vary widely. Nevertheless, some restaurateurs have a knack of hiring and training their staffs in such a manner that they continually project a welcoming attitude to their customers. Here are a few:Ray’s and Sato’s in Edwards. I’m always delighted when wait staffs welcome customers by name or remember to usher them to their favorite table when possible. I can’t count the times when Alex at Sato’s has stopped by just to say “Hi” even when I’m not at her station. Perhaps that’s why I recommend that restaurant to friends.Annie and Carolina at Fiesta’s do much the same. But then the owner, Sue, always has something nice to say whenever I walk in.One of the more recent editions to the valley is Strickland’s, also in Edwards. Now that Mike has “original” Chicago Italian Beef and Vienna hot dogs to go along with his accommodating attitude and great home made ice cream, his shop has become my new favorite place whenever I break my heart-healthy diet.Awhile back I was dining at Montauk and was debating with my friend about which wine to order. One of the owners, Tom Ludwig, happened by and offered a simple solution. “Try this one” he said, “and if you don’t like it, it’s on me.” I like that kind of attitude in a restaurant.While a bit upscale for everyday dining, I find that the staff at La Tour always goes out of their way to make my experience there as enjoyable as possible. Smiles and positive attitudes in the workplace come in all shapes, sizes and places. Several times during the ski season I’ve left my ski pass at home, and once while in uniform, I realized I might be late for a private lesson. As I stepped into the Village ticket office wearing that “Oh, oh, I’m late” look, the manager took note (he saw I was distressed and in uniform) and asked, “How can I help?” I told him my dilemma and seeing that it was almost 9 a.m., he quickly printed a replacement pass, allowing me to meet my ski school guest with time to spare. Cory French, the assistant manager of Wildwood restaurant ,is further evidence that Bill Jensen’s customer-service message continues to resonate through VR’s ranks. Without going into detail, I personally witnessed Cory display a customer-focused wisdom and attitude that can only be described as superb. This past Christmas Eve, I managed to sit on and crush a very expensive pair of glasses that had just been fitted with new lenses (Murphy lives!). I was anxious because out-of-town family was waiting at home, and the Eye Pieces of Vail store across from Crossroads was absolutely jammed with tourists. I expected a 20-minute wait. But Scott, the store manager, recognized that something was amiss because he had just refitted my old (and now crushed) frames a few days earlier. So he asked what was up. I told him and within minutes he called the manufacturer in New York to determine if the frames were repairable (they weren’t, Murphy’s Law again). So Hugh, the lab manager who’s been at Eye Pieces for years, found a more durable and less expensive frame. Together they had me fitted and out the door within five minutes. Wow, that’s customer service!Then, of course, there’s Carla and Fabiola at the Village Market in Edwards. There isn’t a time I walk into that store when Fabiola isn’t front and center with her cheery, “Good morning, senor. Are you having a nice day?” Or Carla, who always has a kind word. How can anyone not have a nice day when people like Carla and Fabiola flash their warm smiles first thing in the morning?Life is good in Happy Valley. But with folks like these, it truly is a privilege to live here.Butch Mazzuca, a local Realtor and ski instructor, writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at bmazz68@earthlink.net Vail, Colorado

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