Tell us about a time when you were left on your own, to fend for yourself in an overwhelming situation — on the job, at home, at school. What was the outcome?
I was new at the job and had to accompany 30 people to Italy.
I was not a travel agent, but was charged with coordinating an association-hosted “educational” trip for printer members that was part work for them, but mostly vacation – and all work for me. I would be handling this sojourn all alone and responsible for the trip going smoothly.
I was so worried about the enormous responsibility that I made a list of 104 questions and imaginary problems I hoped to resolve before departure.
What if someone gets sick?
What if the bags are lost?
What if the rooms are bad?
What if someone misses the plane?
Well, you get the idea – What if? What if? What if?
My boss tore up the list of questions and said, “Just go. You can do it.” Ha!
The bags were lost so half the group went on to the hotel in Milan and I stayed with the other half at the airport filling in forms.
When we finally got to the hotel the folks (with luggage) were unhappy because they were not signed in yet. They were worried because the hotel wanted to put us in two different buildings. The second group (without luggage) joined the chorus of malcontents
And they all looked at me!
There was a definite language barrier at the desk. “You can’t separate my group!” I said in my most business like voice. “This is my first group tour!”
“So sorry – apologies,” I think they said whilst shrugging helpless shoulders. Still, almost in control, I asked to speak to the manager.
Hand gestures and projecting a confident female image to the manager didn’t work either.
Frustration was building and building and I secretly wanted to just go home.
Finally I began to cry (with all 30 people standing behind me). How embarrassing!
“Don’t cry Madame,” said the dismayed concierge (Italian men do seem to get upset when women cry).
The tears worked because they put us all in one hotel, but it later turned out the other building they were originally proposing was only across the alley.
Happily both halves of my group – the haves and the have-nots (luggage that is) loved me and thanked me for crying for them.
And the bags arrived in short order.
We were like family!
And the rest of the trip went just fine and got rave reviews upon our return to the United States.
Note: Clip Art from Clipartheaven.com