**This is the fourth part of a five-part series about how a terrible vacation experience turned into one of the best life and business lessons I could have learned. Please click here to read Part 1: Our Cruise Vacation Falls Apart if you have not already.**
If you read Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series, then you already know how I ended up missing a speaking engagement, not going to Cuba, watching my entire family meltdown into tears around me, and nearly getting ejected from a cruise line’s central offices. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, then you probably should so you can find out why all of those negative things ultimately turned into one of the best business mini-courses you will ever find. To summarize: In Part 1, my family was miserable, and I was seeking a solution. In Part 2, things started to look up, we checked into Saratoga Springs, and I realized something very important about a common business practice that can go really wrong if you are not careful. In Part 3, a fantastic poolside experience changed my perspective on a lot of things (and it’s not what you might be thinking).
Here’s what happened next…
So, I was back at the pool again. It was kind of that sort of vacation, and we all needed it. Sure, we did the rides and some of the shows and watched the fireworks, but I think my favorite part of that week with my family was just relaxing by the pool. That’s probably because I was learning so many awesome lessons just lying there soaking up the sun!
Anyway, I had stepped away from my lounge chair and my family for a few minutes to grab all of us some snacks, and I encountered an unusual situation. I encountered a Disney employee who couldn’t help me, even though she clearly had the resources to do so. It wasn’t a big deal, but I could see the food items I had requested right in front of her, but she apparently could not. She was getting frustrated (a big Disney no-no), and so was I.
Well, I was about to give up, write it off as a bad day for her and find something else to eat, when her manager came up. He swooped in like Superman – but that’s not Disney. He swooped in like Darkwing Duck, got my items for me, was so nice about it and tried to kind of cover for the employee as well, and sent me happily back to my lounge chair in the sun. And when the employee saw what she had been missing, she was incredibly gracious as well. She apologized and helped me with my meal like we had not just been getting a little aggravated at all. It made me feel completely better about the issue being resolved, and it also made me feel completely better about that employee, who had been giving me a little bit of a hard time.
And that’s when I realized Disney had just done it again. I had another life and business lesson for the books:
When you get something wrong, apologize and then make it right.
We all get things wrong from time to time. We make mistakes in our marriages. We miscommunicate with our kids. We end up with a flooded basement, no sump pump, and a contract that the buyer delayed but now we have to do the right thing and eat the $9,000 repair costs because we know it’s the right thing to do (yes, that happened). And when that happens, there is just one thing to do: make it right. If you do whatever you can for your customer with a good spirit and a sincere desire to make things the best you can for them, they will know it and your business will prosper.