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Back to it – Cracked Ice and Chrome

Back to it

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I haven’t written on here in a while because, well, I think I joined lots of other people who were like bulls behind the gate at a rodeo. Last summer was Covid summer. This summer was our chance to get out there and travel.

And travel, we did! We made several trips to Chicago, one to Memphis for Elvis Week, and a couple little ones in between to attend concerts – Foreigner and Styx. (Those concerts were fantastic, by the way!) We saw friends we haven’t seen in a couple of years, and that was more than good for the soul. Yes, I know Covid is still out there. I had a personal experience with it this summer. However, I would not trade the time I spent with friends and family for anything.

The crowds in Memphis were lighter this year, probably because people from other countries were not able to fly in. We did the VIP tour of Graceland and had a great time connecting with people we had not seen in two years.

The hotel that my husband’s band was playing at (and where we were staying) has had a long history of not the greatest management. I have heard horror stories from other guests, and the hotel keeps reminding people that they are, in fact, renovating and trying to get everything up to standard. While traveling around with my husband, we have stayed in some really nice hotels and some utter dives; it all depends on where the show producer wants to put us. However, I had a moment on this trip that made me realize that you never know where you are going to meet the gems who are out there in society – the people with great spirit and motivation that lift people up when they’re feeling low. I wrote a Facebook post about this experience when I returned from Memphis, and I’d like to share it with you here:

One of the highlights of the trip to Memphis was meeting Jimmy, the air conditioning repairman at the hotel. Why was he the highlight? Oh, let me explain.

The hotel we stayed at was having numerous issues – torrential downpours caused sewage to back up into bathtubs (not ours, but other people had this issue), the main air conditioning was not working well and it was hotter than heck in the lobby and the conference rooms, and the staff was clearly overwhelmed by all the crazy Elvis people who had swarmed their hotel. We had a couple issues in our room; first, the tub drain was really slow and then stopped working altogether, and then on Saturday, after Joe played a 5-hour set and was absolutely exhausted and in pain, we got to our room to discover that our A/C was not working at all. After hearing horror stories from other guests about how they couldn’t get anything fixed in their rooms, I was dreading what was about to happen. I went down to the front desk, told them my problem, and rather than getting a rude brush-off, which I kind of expected based on others’ stories, the clerk said, “Hold on – we have our air conditioning specialist here.” She got on the radio and told him our room number, and Jimmy answered, “Headed to 423 now.”

Truthfully, I didn’t expect much. I felt bad for Joe, who had sweat during 5 hours of playing in a hot room and desperately needed some cool air. I thought the AC guy would take his time getting to our room.

Imagine my surprise when 2 minutes later, there stands Jimmy. “Y’all’s air not working?” he inquired. I told him it was working fine earlier, but it had quit while we were at the show. “Well, we can’t have that happenin,'” he said. “I’m going to get this all fixed up for you.” He glanced at Joe who was half-unconscious on the bed, really needing a nap before the next show. “He’s got to get some rest and he can’t do that in this stuffy room!” Yep, Jimmy was right. It was getting hot in there.

Jimmy took a look and said he was going to see if the fuse blew. He left, and in a few seconds, the unit turned on. Jimmy came back to check it over again.”Y’know, I’m gonna go get y’all a new front for this unit. I don’t want it turning off on you again.” He disappeared and reappeared with a new front for the unit and replaced that. As he worked, he talked and talked and talked, making jokes about how the AC temp should be lower than his wife’s age. “See?” he said, putting the air on 67. “If we kept it here, this would be her correct age. However, we want it here – to the age she tells people she is,” he said, turning it down to 60.

He kept us laughing while he fixed the unit and made sure it was going to work.As he was leaving, he said, “What time will y’all be done partying downstairs?” We told him about midnight. “Ok, well, I want to make sure y’all will be comfortable and be able to sleep. If this thing blows a fuse again or has trouble, you call me when you get back up here.”I asked Jimmy, “Even if it’s midnight? Don’t you sleep?” He shook his head and waved away the idea that midnight was too late. “I want y’all to be comfortable. I love my job, and it’s my job to make sure these things work for you. Before y’all go down to your show tonight, if y’all could just let the front desk now that it is still working, I’d appreciate it.”

The thing is that you could really tell he did love his job. It was wonderfully refreshing and I was so impressed with his enthusiasm for a job that many people would consider a drag during a Memphis heat wave.

Sometimes you just meet the best people while traveling around, and Jimmy will always be someone I remember simply because he cared about what he did.

Other guests at the hotel had equally as pleasant encounters with Jimmy, so it’s safe to say that he is just one of those rare gems who spreads happiness wherever he goes. I did take the time to write a letter to the hotel commending Jimmy. I hope he gets a nice little bonus or just feels good knowing that he made an impression on a girl from Iowa.

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