Archive for August, 2017

Customer Service

Thursday, August 31st, 2017


1st Class Treatment

My father told me, “There’s two rules in business; Rule #1; The Customer is always right. Rule #2; When that’s not the case, refer to Rule #1″  

I’ve been a vegetarian for more than 55 years and have done a lot of flying in that time. I have always found the flight staff to be accommodating, even when their regular menu didn’t have any vegetarian options. That is until when on an Alaska Airlines flight 851 from Seattle to Honolulu on 8/31, 2017 in the First Class cabin I encountered Sandra.

Sandra was coldly “tossing out” menus void of any personality or eye contact. I took a quick look and said, “Excuse me but what do you have that’s vegetarian?” She flatly said, “We don’t have anything vegetarian.” I handed the menu back to her and said, “Well I guess that I won’t eat.” She took the menu, said nothing and walked away. I was shocked.

A few moments later I stopped Nora, the more senior flight attendant, and asked her the same question. She squatted down to my level, made eye contact and said, “We don’t have any vegetarian options, but as a first class passenger I can surely put together a salad and some other things for you.”

Customer service is a people thing.

When Sandra reappeared to take drink orders I told her that Nora offered to put something together for me. She snapped, “Nora works in the back, I’m in the 1st Class cabin.” I bit my tongue so as not to say, “But you don’t have a 1st Class attitude.” She said that she has everything I need up front and that she would put something together for me. I then said, “That’s what you should have said initially.” She apologized and said that a lot of customers get really upset that there isn’t any vegetarian options on the menu. I said, “That’s the airline’s mistake, your approach to dealing with it is yours.” She apologized again and said that she will fix me something. I told that I would rather Nora did. Hey, I don’t want Amy spit in my salad! Right? 


A few minutes later Nora showed up with more food than I could possibly eat. The guy sitting next to me said, “Wow, that looks great, how did you get that?” This led to a discussion about what I do and what we should all be able to expect from the people serving us; the customers.  Imagine how many people will hear this story from me at future Success Rallies. Sandra was very nice the rest of the flight eager to get me anything I wanted. It’s too bad that she needed a reminder to be nice and helpful.

Leilani Lee Gilfoy - RIP

Sunday, August 20th, 2017


Leilani was my Hawaii Branch Manager for Empress Pearls in the ’70s. When I called Lei in 1981 and told her that I had sold Empress Pearls and want to move to Hawaii, she instantly invited me to stay with her and her husband Ross until I got settled. They met me when I arrived, and immediately began “Hawaiianizing” me with trips around the island visiting all of the special beaches and places.

Her wonderful family, Ross, David (RIP), Honey Girl, Reno, Remi, Caron and Zena all became family to me. Lei had two other sons that were adopted out, Bernie and Jose that I never met. 

I spent many evenings listening to Leilani’s golden voice, playing her ukulele as Remi sang along while Honey Girl and Caron danced hula. 


Leilani’s brother was the famous Hawaiian entertainer Kui Lee who wrote many of Don Ho’s classic songs as well as a few for Elvis Presley, such as this one:


Kui performed until he lost his fight with cancer at a very young age.

When Ross emailed me with the news that Lei had passed away, I sat at my computer with tears in my eyes. They are returning again now as I write and edit this. Her funeral will be on September 23 and we will spread her ashes off of the shore of Waikiki. I expect quite a crowd to be there with more than a few celebrities joining in. I will post a blog about that event when it happens. 

Words that Justify Procrastination

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

“In a few minutes.”

“Next week.”
“Next month.”
“Next year.”
“Next lifetime.”



W. Clement Stone, founder of Combined Insurance Company in Chicago had the solution to this “mental sickness” when he simply said, “DO IT NOW!”

This is a shirt that I had made for “Clem” after he came to visit me in my Hollywood office in the mid ’70s.
Mr. Stone lived to be 100 years old.

RIP Clem