Saturday, September 7, 2013

Generosity, helpfulness and willingness to brea the rules....found daily in Ireland.

When we arrived at the Best Western, Skylon in Dublin, we were several hours too early for our check in. Judy and I were greeted by a young lady named Aoife, pronounced, "E fa."  We allowed as how we were hours early but we wanted to either get an early check in OR store our suitcases until check in time. She quickly indicated she would check to see if we could get into a room early so we could take a nap. We had travelled all night and were exhausted. Aoife got us a quiet room and we were not charged one extra cent despite our being five hours early for check in.

Later that day, she helped us with bus information and helped us navigate the city through specific maps, directions and information about what to do, where and when. At check out this morning, Aoife was there and we were trying to get directions to our rental car company. She and the manager gave us the info and thought it made sense for us to leave our bags there because we would have to travel by the hotel on our way to Bangor. She was right...everything worked out well and when we arrived back she was tickled that we had made it and not got lost, nor had we had an accident. YUP, customer service is expected but how often do we not give or receive it?

We have stopped many a person on the street asking for directions to x,y and z and without exception have been given great directions, warmly and with a generous dollop of brogue, accent and flavor. Me: Do you know where the bus stop is going into the city center? Him: Hmmm....a wee bit over there, no? He was pointing up the street and waving us on in the opposite direction.

When we arrived in Bangor, we had to stop to ask where Donaghadee Street was. We couldn't Map Quest the address while in Dublin. At the grocery store, an elderly man, with no teeth began giving us detailed, incoherent directions. A 35ish woman said she was going in that direction if we wanted to follow her. We did that and she pulled over and waved us on. Later that day, she saw us walking along the beach and she pulled over to ask how long we were staying in her town and told us where she lives. We had been by there and knew her house due to the two barking dogs. She introduced herself as Frances. Later that day, she again pulled over and asked how we were doing? Told her we had been out exploring and we loved her town. Tomorrow, we are going to knock on her door with a bottle of wine...unless we run across her somewhere. She didn't have to pull over and chat with us...but she did. We are being welcomed over and over.

Bought two bottles of wine (yup, that kinda day) and the best chat with the clerks in the wine store. The young man has been to several states in the USA, including Ohio, NY, Texas and Colorado. We discussed with the older woman that we had never seen Weight Watchers wine. She said it wasn't bad but we indicated we would go with the "fat wine" for tonight. Left laughing.

Are we Americans that welcoming and generous? I sadly don't think so. I plan to go out of my way to welcome strangers when I can.

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