It’s Friday in wine country and along with the tourists that will be frequenting the tasting rooms and the vineyards in search of that perfect Cab or Merlot for under $30.00 most of us will be trekking from the kitchen to the front door wondering how the weekend will shape up.
On Wednesday when I walked into the UPS Store in
I didn’t know Elsmarie, who owned the mail center with her husband, Heinrich, very well. We weren’t social friends, but probably could have been. Elsmarie, like small business owner spent time at the mail center on a regular basis. During the holidays – the rush hours for their operation- she was there more often than not. She always had a smile and a warm friendly greeting for her customers and many of “the regulars” – those locals who opted to get their mail at the center rather than the post office- would stop and chat about politics, the weather, the stock market and life.
She was one of the greeters at the mail center. Unlike the programmed greeters at the Gap or Abercrombie, Elsmarie, had a natural flair for making customers feel welcome. And as strange as this may seem for a guy walking into a mail center, you need to establish trust with those who handle your mail more than with your once trusted bankers. Elsmarie and Heinreich have the keys to your vault. They know what goes on in your life, the good news, the bad, the mediocre and the junk. Elsmarie knew where my mom lived. She mailed her Christmas presents for me. When my mother passed away, Elsmarie helped me sort out the boxes of trinkets and dishes and memorabilia that I shipped from
I don’t know if Elsmarie, who passed away of Ovarian cancer on July 8, knew how much she meant to her customers. She always had a smile on her face, was friendly and upbeat and just made you feel good, even when you went to the box and found the card from the IRS agent looking for those back taxes from that old restaurant.
Yes, Elsmarie had a gift. She knew, along with Heinrich, how to operate a business and make all of her customers feel important. She was a gem in a world where the shipment of a bottle of wine from
No matter how bad her day was going, or how high her mountain of troubles my have grown, she never let on that there was a problem that she needed to address. Over these past weeks, Heinrich has been as pleasant as he has always been even though he had other thoughts on his mind.
Tonight, when you walk from the kitchen, through the dining room, to the front door, think of Elsmarie and how she and her husband added hospitality to a mail center.
If more of us could accomplish that in our restaurants, maybe there would be less IRS cards in our mailboxes.
Elsmarie, that shining gem, will be missed.