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Acts of Kindness: The #Westin Palo Alto via Twitter

September 17, 2009 by Bill Strong
Normally, when we take Gwendolyn to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford (LPCH) to see "Team Gwendolyn", we pile in the minivan and drive from Santa Barbara to Palo Alto (600+ miles round trip) in the middle of the night, have our appointments all day, and turn around and come right home. With all of Gwendolyn's machines and the lack of a night nurse when traveling, we've found the up and back to be the easiest way to make the trip. It definitely makes for a very long day, but given the quality of care and experience with SMA at LPCH, it's well worth every mile, every minute, and every ounce of coffee smile

This time we decided to go up a day early and stay at a hotel near LPCH. We chose The Westin Palo Alto mostly due to its proximity to LPCH and the fact that I've stayed there before on business and knew it was a nice, clean environment for Gwendolyn. Our experience at the Westin was great, but the acts of kindness shown our family by the Westin staff and their connection to technology and, more specifically, Twitter, is an amazing lesson in the power of social media and its impact on corporate customer service and branding.

When we arrived on Monday night I sent the following Tweet after settling in:

Palo Alto, we have arrived! #Westin staff was super helpful and accommodating of our situation.

Simple enough.

The next day we received a call from the manager of the hotel to make sure we had everything we needed and to offer words of support for Gwendolyn and us. I was touched and shocked -- and a little bit confused I guess. So shocked that I didn't even ask him how he knew about Gwendolyn or our situation or anything while on the phone. I just thanked him and hung up.

The answer arrived at our door a few hours later. A basket of fruit arrived with a hand written note on a card from Paul Oseso, the front office manager at the hotel. Here's what the note said:

The Strong Family:

Thank you for choosing to stay with us.

We wish Gwendolyn all the best in her fight with SMA! Many of our staff have signed your petition to Congress after learning about your challenges on Twitter.

Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your stay more enjoyable.

All the best,

Paul Oseso

F.O. Manager

Speechless. Simply speechless. And it didn't stop there. They must have informed the entire staff at the hotel of our situation and our petition - PetitionToCureSMA.com - as we received kind words of support and mentions of the petition from the front desk, porter, valet attendant...

Thank you Paul Oseso and Westin Palo Alto for making our stay so comfortable and enjoyable. There is no doubt that we will be back and there is NO way that we would ever consider staying anywhere else in the future.

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