New Shoes


New Shoes

First published January 25, 2013 on

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. ~ St. Basil

In yesterday’s blog posting I mentioned something about Katie’s new shoes and promised to tell you more of the story.  Here we go:

Due to the kindness of several people, notably Nana and Grandpa who looked after the boys, Katie and I got to enjoy a mini-vacation at our very favourite geographically nearby and spiritually faraway spot – Niagara on the Lake.

Making our way from the car park to the Prince of Wales, Katie barked an epithet “I’ve forgotten my $)&)(* trainers!”  Now from my perspective, forgetting to bring running shoes on a holiday is a good thing but as Katie is a deeply committed fitness devotee this posed a real problem.  Part of her vacation enjoyment is making the time to engage in her workouts.

While checking in we asked the guy manning the desk if there was somewhere nearby where we could quickly get Katie some trainers.  If you’ve been to NOTL you’ll know that while there are innumerable fudge and candy and souvenir and wine shops, there is a marked paucity of things related to keeping fit.  So, the answer was no but immediately this fellow remarked, “I live in St. Catharines right near a sporting goods store.  Tell me your size and preference and I’ll buy them tonight and have them here for you by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.”


Here came another RAOK (random act of kindness) from out of the blue.  As we learned, the young man’s name is Cooper and during our stay we learned that this type of response was not unusual for him.  He proved to be an enormously helpful and kind fellow.

True to his word – the next morning the shoes appeared.  Not only did they appear but Cooper had absolutely nailed the selection by choosing the brilliant ASICS pictured above, by choosing the bright colours that truly enlivened us and reflected perfectly the exuberance Katie feels about her regime.

We would further come to learn that this exceptional sensitivity to service in both responding to and anticipating our needs was not limited to Cooper.  Given Katie’s dietary restrictions (again part of her remarkable health regime which is producing such remarkable results) dining out can be a challenge.  One quick briefing with Brad in the dining room however produced wonderful meal solutions for Katie and in fact, I became somewhat jealous ’cause I think she ate better than I did.  Brad’s intervention resulted in the Chef at Escabeche and his team creating items specifically for Katie and plating them with true artistry.

Then along came someone I’d not seen for probably three years, Fred Gamula, the POW sommelier  and he proceeded to delight us with wine selections based upon my insightful briefing – ‘bring something that will surprise and delight us’.

Anyway, you can take the perspective that people employed in the hospitality sector should be expected to be solicitous and cooperative but those of us who have traveled even just a bit know this not to be the case.  Many times we encounter surly individuals who clearly don’t like what they do and figure it is their job to ensure we know what a tremendous service they perform by acknowledging our mere presence.

These individuals at Prince of Wales went way above and beyond and showed that people genuinely committed to and motivated by their work deliver exceptional results and wonderful experiences.


And, that friends, is the story of Katie’s new shoes.

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Don, it's good to hear how a wonderful vacation turned out so spectacularly! I have dear cousins in Niagra-on-the-Lake whom I have visited several times and know the area! What great hospitality you received over and above expectations. That has been my experience when visiting - along with the beautiful scenery, makes me want to jump on a plane and go back!