The Last Guest of 2010
I beset on a journey today… To meet our “last guest of 2010” at Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona
My name is Jeff West, and I am the Manager of Guest Experience here at Glen Ivy. Some of you might know me already… and if not, I look forward to meeting you on your next visit. The last day of 2010 was a beautiful one here at Glen Ivy Hot Springs—the end of our anniversary year and the beginning of our next 150 years—it only seemed appropriate that we honor this moment in time with words from our guests, specifically the last visitor of 2010 and the first of 2011….
At the end of the day, front desk let me know that our “last guest” was Donna Brown and I met her at the Salon where she was having a facial. I explained my quest to her and she was delighted to participate, and I spent an hour speaking with this most wonderful woman; funny, engaging, inquisitive, sharp, disarmingly candid, there aren’t enough adjectives. She was also absolutely giddy at being photographed, as she put it, “Jeff, I’ll never see it..so…I trust you to make me beautiful”… Donna is also blind.
Some highlights from my visit with the last guest of 2010 at Glen Ivy Hot Springs, Donna Brown:
Jeff: Donna, how many times have you been to Glen Ivy?
Donna: This is the fifth year in a row. I come every year to bring my friend Linda to celebrate her birthday, or should I say she brings me? (laughing) Obviously you’d rather see my dog drive here than get me behind the wheel! But what a wonderful treat to come every year and spend a relaxing day and get treated like royalty. It’s the perfect way to start the New Year.
J: Donna, what is your favorite part of the experience here at Glen Ivy? What brings you back every year?
D.: The quick answer is the gentle kindness that I feel from all the staff here. The calming and relaxing effect, the best facials, I love the floating pool… all the waters! I am absolutely crazy for the Café Solé. I wish you would tell the Chef for me that he should either create a cookbook to sell in the boutique or feature a recipe every month or so on the website. I especially love his salads, the best! I know it shouldn’t take a recipe to make a salad… but how the hell does he do it?
But I tell you the most important thing is this: I sense that everyone here goes the extra mile without making a big production of my obvious disability. That’s so important to me. Everyone is so helpful and respectful, but never am I embarrassed. You know it doesn’t go down that way everywhere. You don’t know how great it feels to be treated so well and so respectfully, and yet I feel very, very safe and cared for.
J: Donna, beautifully put, and thank you for that, such a huge compliment and my favorite compliment of 2010. Tell me Donna, do you make New Year’s Resolutions? And if so, will you share with me yours for this new year?
D: To learn new things, always adding something new, there is always something new to learn. And to continue good health! Jeff, can I ask you a question?
J: Absolutely, I can’t wait!
D: How do I get my husband to come? Or better yet, what if I were to get a few of my girlfriends, who are also blind, together to come? Can I depend on you for some help making them feel as safe as I feel here at Glen Ivy? Can I contact you directly?
J: Donna, this I can assure you: if you get your friends together to join us for a day; it will be my honor and my pleasure to see to it that your group has the time of their lives.
D: Oh, Jeff, you don’t know how special that is. The girls don’t get to experience so much because they need to feel safe and it’s hard to ask for help… and when you do get it, sometimes it’s overdone and you feel like an invalid. We just want to have fun and enjoy ourselves… and feel safe doing it.
We were then joined by Donna’s friend, Linda, and she was equally delightful and we had a great chat. My quest to meet our last guests of 2010 turned into a memorable hour with two charming ladies!
D: Jeff, you’ve made our day—Linda’s and mine! Glen Ivy is the best, and you know we all have enough of these things (she swept her arm around indicating the contents of the Spa Lifestyle Store where we were standing by this time). What we come back for is memories!
With that, I walked our last guest of 2010 out to her car and presented a small gift. She was overwhelmed, and tears were shed… BY ME! And off they went, and I look so forward to their return.
Tomorrow I look forward to meeting the first guest of 2011!