We were managing a corporate conference in London, England, for a client. It was more of a training situation — there were 40 to 50 attendees who were going to be on site with one instructor. And because it was relatively small, the client opted to simply let the instructor take care of all the on-site management.
It was a challenge, because [the instructor] needs to be concerned with the content of the meeting and not what goes on outside the room. So he wasn't real wild about taking on that responsibility. He really wished that I could be there, but the client said I could let him manage that. So he got there a day early. It was a beautiful four-star hotel in London. I felt very confident that all the logistical arrangements that I'd made in advance were going to be carried out well, but he was a bit panicked.
One of the first things he did was to go up and take a look at the meeting room. As he got to the elevator, he noticed a piece of toast on the elevator floor. In his mind that was an immediate indication of the level of service that this hotel was going to provide. He panicked and called me — I think it was about 6 a.m. my time in Detroit — and was beside himself with the fact that there was this toast on the elevator floor. He wanted to go up and check on things with the meeting, but he wanted me to handle this in the meantime.
So I hung up the phone to think it through. I didn't want to call the conference services manager, because at that point it was still very early in the morning. I went right to housekeeping and said, “Could you please take note there's food on the elevator floor?” So they promised that they would take care of it. Then I did end up calling my conference services manager after that and indicated to her that the on-site instructor was very concerned, and this wasn't a good start for him: “Would you please pay some special attention to him to make sure that the tables were cleaned off during the break?”
The conference services manager and I chuckled about it. She promised me she would take very good care of them — and they did.