Marlen Caduff, owner of Swiss Spirit Massage, and I were at the Oxford Exchange yesterday talking about her journey to America, career and business. Since the first day I met Marlen in 2009, I've wanted to write about her. Back then I wasn't sure why other than the little voice in my head telling me that we simply must. But as time went by I kept getting the feeling to hold off just a little bit longer and a little longer and a little longer. Then last month, just like that, the time felt right.
I am going to publish Marlen's story at a new site I've been working on about Tampa Bay entrepreneurs. One of the things I intend to focus on about Marlen is how inspiring the road she's traveled so far, has been. Ironically, I got an adrenaline shot of it yesterday as we spoke.
Marlen's business phone rang in the middle of our conversation. It was a prospective client trying to score a last minute massage. With two phones in hand and a flurry of calls, texts and more calls, Marlen redefined my definition of trying to accommodate a customer.
Picture how I felt here as she completed her business:
It's the final game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Argentina is playing Brazil in Brazil and I'm a Brazillian. 89 minutes and 40 seconds have gone by in the 90 minute match. The score is 0 to 0. Suddenly Brazil breaks away and scores a goal as time expires. Brazil wins!
The smile on her face demanded a fist-bump from me.
Okay, now you're probably thinking; "Davo, dude, business people try to accommodate customers every single hour of every single day. What's the big deal?"
I get that. Heck, if I wasn't sitting right in front of Marlen watching her, this would hardly be a story. As a matter of fact, she's gone above and beyond in accommodating my schedule a handful of times over the years.
What made the diffence yesterday? Well, let's go back to sports for an analogy. What do they usually say about an athlete who hustles more than others and never gives up? They say she's got heart, right? It's not a matter of the athlete running faster or longer than the others. It's about the effort she puts in. And unless you are physically watching that person live or on TV, you can't feel her effort by reading about it.
I saw Marlen's heart yesterday. It was in her facial expression and body language. But I didn't just see it, I felt and heard it too. I was in awe of the emotion laced effort that she put into trying to accommodate this prospective customer.
This business transaction however, didn't have a happy ending. The prospective customer called back later and cancelled. The disappointment in Marlen's eyes told me the value she places on customers. It's priceless.
Feel like making a comment about this or Marlen? Either go to Marlen's Facebook page or visit my Google+ page.