A few months ago, I had the charge of 2 grandparents and their twin 10 year old boys. On the second day of the tour the proud grandfather told me that two years ago, one of the twins, then eight years old, had designed and sewn pajamas for the entire family for Christmas. Then he asked: “Could we possibly visit the Ralph Lauren Flagship Men’s Store on Madison Avenue? He’s my Grandson’s favorite designer.”
I called the store and told them about the boy and his pajamas. I explained that we would be visiting and might they have someone greet us and just welcome our young designer with a few words of encouragement to make him feel special and welcome. They did much better than that.
When we arrived, Jordin Filas, the manager, greeted us at the entrance and offered us cold beverages that were served with ice on a silver tray by a staff member in a 3 piece suit (Ralph Lauren, of-course). People in the store began to ask who we were to receive such V.I.P. treatment, as Jordin took us on an hour long tour of all four floors of the 19th century former mansion that was now the home of the Ralph Lauren Men’s Store. He showed us Ralph Lauren’s model cars – exact replicas of the real automobiles in Ralph Lauren’s collection. Important works of art that hung on the walls were explained to us. Fashion trends and traditions were defined in a language that was easily understood by wide-eyed children, while keeping the adults enthralled at the same time. Upon leaving, the twins were each given parting gifts.
I did very little to create this afternoon detour that turned out to be the highlight of their visit to New York. All I did was take the time to make a telephone call. Jordin Filas and Ralph Lauren did the rest. Still, it was my finest hour.
I tell this story because after all the studying; the planning and preparation, in the end it is the ability to listen, hear and have the flexibility to act on a visitor's seemingly trivial request that sometimes – not always, but occasionally - creates an experience and memory that will last a child’s lifetime.
A fun note to end Ammi's story: Jordin Filas - the Store Manager - and the young designer have become Pen Pals and correspond regularly, discussing fashion ideas and sharing photos. Watch out for this up and coming talent! He’s going places. And make sure you get in touch with Ammi if you're planning a trip to New York City in 2015! He'll be the best part of your time in the Big Apple.