Simple yet thoughtful touches

During a road trip a few weeks ago I stopped at U.S. fast-food chain Chick-fil-A to use the restroom and grab a quick lunch I could eat quickly in the car. I’ve patronized various locations of this chain enough to have relatively high expectations of its service and product, but during this visit I was blown away by what I experienced.

I stopped in the restroom first, and it was very clean, as I expected. What I did not expect were hand lotion and mouthwash on the sink counter next to the typical soap. The crowning touch for me, though — as the mother of a newly potty-trained toddler — was a stepstool stored below the sink to make things easy for the littlest hand-washers.

Before I had even ordered any food, my experience was excellent, and it got better. Even though the restaurant was fairly busy, I received my order quickly, and the server at the counter was very friendly. Getting into my car, though, I somehow knocked my straw through the bottom of my drink cup, draining lemonade all over the parking lot. I went back inside to explain what happened and request a replacement, and not only was one provided quickly and with a smile, but my medium beverage was even upgraded to a large.

I made one last stop at the condiment bar before heading back out to grab a fistful of napkins — just in case! — when I noticed complimentary small containers of cereal “for future chicken eaters,” as a sign explained. I smiled at the simple yet very thoughtful touch.

High-end ingredients, elaborate preparations and cutting-edge design are great, especially in luxury hotels. It’s helpful to remember, though, that the heart of any memorable meal boils down to basic elements delivered with genuine hospitality. That’s not a new lesson, but it sure was nice to be able to learn it once again in a rather unexpected place.