Monday, May 9, 2011

Just Be Nice...

Just be nice…
Dad and I at the was very nice

This past weekend I flew home to spend some time with my family in Kentucky.  

Fresh off of a redeye flight Thursday evening into Friday morning, I spent Friday and Saturday with my Dad and 165,000+ of our closest friends at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY for the Kentucky Derby weekend festivities.  

I spent Sunday visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and little nephew, Henry, in Lexington, KY…and then finally Dad and I made it back to our home - Grayson, KY where we hosted a nice Mothers’ Day cookout for my Mom, Grandmother, Aunt, and close family friends. 

It was a nice break from work and the first time I’d been out of Las Vegas since moving there in October; over six months ago. It was refreshing to be back in the south…the people are so nice.

After four days in Kentucky, I’m reminded of such a simple, yet very powerful OneMoreStep that anyone, anywhere can put to practice to make an impact...

- the OneMoreStep thought for this week: JUST BE NICE.

It’s worth noting that I’m not suggesting that everyone in Kentucky, or everyone in the south, for that matter, is ALWAYS nice…I truly believe “nice” people can be found everywhere.   We have nice people in Las Vegas.  Plenty of nice people reside in Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, and everywhere in between. 

However, my four days in Kentucky were filled with one delightful and enjoyable experience after another…and the common theme in each of those experiences – people were nice.

Great "people watching" too
Sure it was Kentucky Derby weekend in Louisville; Kentucky’s main event and arguably the state’s number one claim to fame for the past 137 years, the “Run for the Roses”...the first Saturday in May.  

I’m in the hospitality industry so I get it…every server, bar tender, front desk attendant, cab driver, ticket taker, beer man, program seller, and custodial person has been trained, educated, and pumped up by their management teams to really crush it for what turned out to be a record crowd at the Derby.  Well…they really did crush it. 

Everyone smiled.  Everyone laughed.  Everyone was genuine.  Everyone made me feel comfortable, important, and extremely welcome.  Despite long…and I'm talking very long lines at concession stands, ticket wagering windows, bathrooms, and even lines to get to your seats…people managed to keep a smile on their face…and they were just nice. 

Aside from servers, bar tenders, and the folks working at Churchill Downs, people…in general…regular people…just fellow Derby patrons, Guests, customers, visitors, and native Kentuckians that I talked to were all so nice.  When I said hello to people next to me in line…they engaged in conversation with me.  As I passed by other folks here or there people said things like, Excuse Me, Pardon Me, Thank You, Please, Sir, Ma’am, Good Luck, Have Fun, Take Care, Great to See You, Best of Luck, and of course – God Bless Ya. 
A few of the Derby winner's owners...even they were nice

Total strangers spoke to others and me as if we’d all been friends for years.  People were engaging, high fiving, chatting, and relationship-ing with one another everywhere I looked.   

I know…I know…it was one of the most festive weekends of the year in Kentucky, and for horse racing fans all over the world Saturday was a special day.  Still…it doesn’t make the impact of all those nice people with whom I had the pleasure of interacting any less significant.  People were nice, and it made me smile, laugh, feel welcomed, and at home. 

So this week and in weeks to come…why couldn’t we all just be nice to people? 

·      When things are crazy busy at work when we feel like we’ll never catch up…ask a co-worker what you can do for them…take something off of their plate to free them up so they can work on something else…wouldn’t that be a nice touch.

·      When you “need” something done ASAP and you’re in a hurry to give out direction to your team, players, clients, partners, or students – say please, thank you, sir, or ma’am…they will work that much harder for you and respect you that much more because you were nice.

·      When you’re hosting visitors – go out of your way to make them feel welcome, comfortable, and important…make them smile, make them laugh, and make their day…they will go back and tell everyone how nice you were.

·      When spending time with friends or co-workers…really engage and invest in the conversation.  Let them talk more; as you listen…finish your meal first, because you’re listening as they do all the talking.   You’ll make an impact on their experience…they’ll vent, get it all off their chest, and confide in you, their true friend…they’ll walk away appreciating you for being so nice.

Thanks to my family, friends, and some really cool people that I met in Kentucky over the weekend for reminding me that sometimes the OneMoreStep that can make an impact is to just be nice.  Simple concept…but it could be the difference that matters to someone when they need it the most.

OneMoreStep story for the road…
It was great to see the little man

With an extra 165,000 people in the Louisville metro area, Derby weekend transportation can be quite the logistical nightmare.  Cabs are scarce, busses are packed to capacity, and shuttle services work overtime.   

Shuttle companies hire contract drivers to use their own vehicles to assist with transporting visiting Derby fans.  We were lucky enough to experience a couple of nice gentlemen who transported us to and from Churchill Downs.  One of them totally went OneMoreStep…and made MAGIC.

On Derby day, a nice gentleman gave my Dad and I a ride from the racetrack to a restaurant in downtown Louisville.  We all three talked the entire twenty minute commute…he asked where I lived, where my Dad lived, how the day at the track was, where we were staying while in town, where we were going to eat, etc.  When we arrived at our final destination, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse (phenomenal experience by the way), I asked him what we owed him for the ride.  He said, “Whatever you feel comfortable with”.  I thought that was a little strange, but cool…so I gave him $35 dollars, thanked him, and Dad and I were on our way.  

After dinner, Dad and I were in yet another cab heading back to our hotel about fifteen minutes away from the restaurant.  We realized that I had left a bag of Derby merchandise in the nice gentlemen’s car that had driven us from the track to the restaurant.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had purchased official 137th Kentucky Derby hats for both my Dad and myself.  

Most importantly I had purchased my nephew, Henry, a little horse stuffed animal toy…he’s two and a half years old and I hadn’t seen him in over six months.  I couldn’t wait to give him his new toy, to keep in his room with all his other “friends”, as he calls them.  I was so upset that I’d left his gift in the car.  There went my cool surprise present for the little man…

OneMoreStep moment...magic
Henry & his new "friend"

When Dad and I walked back into our hotel, the Front Desk attendant on duty welcomed us back, and he said, “Are either of you from Las Vegas, by chance?”  He held up my bag of merchandise, and said, “a gentlemen dropped this off earlier this evening…saying something about a guest in our hotel who’s visiting from Las Vegas left this in his car.” 

Not only was the nice gentlemen, our driver, listening to everything we were talking about earlier in the evening, he took it upon himself to go OneMoreStep…he delivered a total stranger’s bag of merchandise to our hotel twenty minutes out of his way.   

He didn’t even leave his name or phone number.  He wasn’t looking for accolades, more tip money, or recognition.  He was just being nice…and now Henry has a new “friend”…

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.
Have a great day.



  1. WOW!!! Talk about Soaring like an EAGLE! Now that is a true one more step! That is making magic at its best!

  2. Thanks for reminding me of how "nice" the South is! (I'm from Alabama and haven't been home in 3 years; living in UT now.) I enjoy reading your blogs. They inspire me to keep the postive energy flowing for both my co-workers and guests at the hotel. Great job, Taylor!

  3. Wow! That's so awesome the driver dropped your bag of stuff off at your hotel - too many people just can't be bothered to take the time for others anymore - glad your nephew enjoyed his horse!

  4. Oh Taylor- this is the greatest post ever!! Proof positive that you get back all that you give. Love that photo of you and your Dad. That cab driver is a gem- wish he could read this story! Henry is such a doll- love those photos too!

    And the guy in the pink suit- priceless!!