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A little bit of hospitality can go a long way

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

As 2007 drew to a close, Joyce Davis and her husband Phillip were looking for a little luck.

At the end of the year, the two were both under the weather. Between doctors visits and the holidays, neither were feeling quite up to par.

Wanting to change their run of luck, Joyce decided they would partake in the New Year’s custom of eating black eyed peas and greens. Across the U.S. many families participate in this tradition hoping it will bring them good luck and prosperity.

After a day of running errands and doctors visits, Joyce felt frustrated. She had visited several grocery stores around the area hoping to find ham hocks to season her meal. She went to three stores, including one of the area’s largest chains, only to come up empty handed.

Before she gave up completely and headed home, Joyce decided to make one last stop—at Hill’s in Shallotte. There, to her delight, Joyce got a hold of the last ham hock in the store.

As she checked out, she chatted with the cashier about how she had searched high and low for the seasoning meat and was glad to have finally found some.

Finished with her day’s adventure, Joyce headed home ready to prepare her good luck meal.

“I was totally exhausted by then,” Joyce, who was suffering from bronchitis and a “touch of the flu,” recalled.

After cleaning the greens, Joyce scratched her head pondering where she had put the ham hock. She searched everywhere she could think of, but Shallotte’s last piece of holiday seasoning meat was nowhere to be found. The ham hock somehow hadn’t made it out of the store.

Frustrated, Joyce picked up the phone and called Hill’s. She asked to speak to a manager and explained her situation. When the manager asked what they could do to help, Joyce half-heartedly suggested they bring the left-behind package to her.

To her surprise, the manager agreed, Joyce explained.

A while later, a store employee showed up on her doorstep with the ham hock in tow.

“You don’t have that happen everyday,” Joyce said by phone later that week. “Starting off the new year with kindness does pay off.”

Joyce was so surprised by the excellent customer service she instantly picked up the phone and called her grown children in Charlotte. Up there, Joyce went on to say, someone from a store doing something like that is virtually unheard of.

“I told everyone of them,” she said, adding that her children had a hard time believing their mother had received such good service.

The way you treat your customers, Joyce explained, goes a long way. And for her, that means she’ll be making more stops at the local grocery store.

For their courtesy, Joyce was grateful. She was able to fix up her New Year’s meal and rest instead of heading back into town.

“This is going to be something that is going to put a smile on a lot of people’s faces,” she said.

Looks like for Joyce and Phillip a little bit of good luck may be on their side after all.

STACEY MANNING is the managing editor at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or editor@brunswickbeacon.com.