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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

Even at Disneyland, the rules are subject to interpretation

Last week I got to hang with some of my favorite people – Parks & Recreation professionals. I was speaking at their annual conference. After my 1st session I decided to head over to Disney California Adventure for some decompression and fun.

I was alone. The delegates were still earning their CEU’s. I’m used to eating alone. Traveling alone. Going to bars alone. Why not go to an amusement park alone?

But  how happy was I when I found out about “The Single Rider” pass. Woo-Hoo!!!!

Yep, if you’re a single rider you get sent on a different line. Most often a faster line. So when someone is the 3rd or 5th wheel; you make them feel a bit better by having someone to sit with. It also helps the “cast members” trying to move the line along as they no longer have to listen to people whine about being separated from their party.

But what I found on the single rider line was not what I expected…..

I was the rare single rider. Or at least what I thought Single Rider meant. It seems that the rules are subject to interpretation.

Most people were couples or friends who just didn’t want to wait in line. They wanted to get on the ride. Faster. They didn’t care about experiencing the thrill seated next to their spouse, partner, significant other, friend, parent or child. They just wanted to get on the ride.

Or maybe a divorced dad and his daughter really are “single” people? A couple not legally married; perhaps they could be considered single? Widowed Grandma and the two grandkids. All single?

I guess I thought part of the experience of a thrill park is sharing the thrills with the people with whom you walked through the gates. Is it no longer fun to see the terror on your friend’s face? Or tease your little brother? It’s all about getting on quicker, I guess.

Or maybe they were texting their terror to one another?

Now I did have fun “outing” people on the line. I’ll talk to anyone; and it was within moments that I knew the two or three people (or the entire family) were together. And they didn’t seem to care whether they were breaking a rule or not. They just wanted to get on the ride faster.

But I guess it makes sense, we’re all rushing to get to the next thing these days anyway.

Or maybe there is a deeper message…….that people really do wish they were single? As for me I can’t wait to go to my next theme park…….alone or not! I’ll have a good time either way.

Maybe Disney can set up a task force or focus group to get to the bottom of what Single Rider really means.


And if you get to Disney California Adventure be sure not to miss the California Screamin roller coaster! It’s a blast. Literally….. from the beginning!

Happy Employees in CT

The 3rd Thursday in June is Recess At Work Day; an opportunity to focus on employee happiness, engagement and morale. But did you know that September was National Manufacturing Month?

And in a world where here in the U.S. we have seen so many manufacturing jobs go away, you gotta love this video put out by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. Great piece of PR for manufacturing in CT.

But I’m just glad to see Happy Employees having fun at work!


Is Employee Happiness on your mind? Check out my latest book: Diary of the Happiest Employee On Earth.

Press 1 for great customer service!

We all want great customer service! Every one of us! We want people to go above and beyond to treat us like a valued customer.

Or do we?……………………

Take Enterprise for example. The rental car folks. When I rent a car from Enterprise they go out of the way to acknowledge you when you enter their facility; especially if there is a short wait. They walk you to the car. They check over the car with you. They familiarize you with the car a bit. Their employees have even shared with me their favorite cars or favorite features about the car I am renting. It’s a nice touch and one of the reasons I rent from them. I like it. I like being engaged. I like the customer experience their employees offer.

So then why did I feel they were holding me hostage on a recent trip? Can’t you just give me the keys and let me run? Do we really have to do this chit chat thing? HAHA!
And then there’s Comcast. I got a call yesterday regarding my appointment scheduled for today. It was an automated call. “Press 1 to confirm your appointment” is what the voice on the other end asked me to do. I complied with the request expecting that to be it. Nope. The lady asked me to hold to transfer to a live person.

I was transferred to Tom who asked me if I had a moment to verify my problem and to inform me exactly what was going to happen tomorrow: that the technician would call me when on his/her way, what would happen if the technician can’t fix my problem and the required minimum age of the person who would be at my house.

Five minutes later Tom was still rambling on. The one time Pressing 1 should have been a good thing……it wasn’t!

All I wanted to do was Press 1 and confirm. Comcast decided I was going to Press 1 AND get a live person. When Tom asked me if I had a moment should I have said no? And when I asked him to please move this along and just confirm the appointment….he asked me to be cordial with him since he was being cordial with me. Now I never raised my voice, just asked a question, but I gotta say I looked at the phone like he just slapped me in the face for not appreciating great customer service.

He was right!

Strange how we want great customer service. Funny how when we get it we hate it????

But seriously, I admire these two companies for their efforts to customer service and the commitment to training employees.

You make a mistake and how is that the customer’s fault?

If you’ve ever pulled into a parking lot in NYC or any big city this is how it usually works:

  1. You pull into garage.
  2. Attendant comes over to you.
  3. They write your license plate number and perhaps make/model of your car on a claim check and hand you a portion of that claim check.
  4. You walk away and they park your car.
  5. You return you hand them the claim check.
  6. You then listen to screeching noises in the garage ramps above you assuming your car is now being qualified for the Indy 500.
  7. Your car arrives.
  8. You do a quick walk-around for large dents and pieces of other vehicles which are now your latest car accessory 
  9. You tip the employee for not  damaging the car and drive off into the sunset.

Everything was fine until step #5 yesterday…………

I handed the ticket to the gentleman behind the window at Central Parking Services in downtown Manhattan and he told me it would be about 15 minutes. That was at 9:30.

At 10:00 I asked where my car was and it went something like this:

Attendant: Where is your ticket?
Rich: The guy behind the window took it.

Attendant: Okay it is on its way.
Rich (At 10:10 – 40 minutes later): So, did you lose my car?

Attendant: Where is your ticket?
Rich: I gave it to the guy behind the window. You were standing right next to him, on the phone, talking to someone else.

Attendant: What did he look like?
Rich: A man.

Attendant: Where is your ticket? What color is your car.
Rich: You have the ticket. Your employee took it from me, told me I was all set and the car would be here in 15 minutes. That was at 9:30. It’s a Silver Subaru, CT License plates.

Attendant: Where is your ticket?
Rich (now getting annoyed and feeling as if they were making this the fault of the customer): Where. Is. My. Car? You have my ticket.

Attendant is now scrambling to go through all tickets in a pile in the office. Not to be found in the pile.

Rich (humorously thinking): Yay! New car! I guess the guy behind the window stole it.

Attendant: When did you drop it off?
Rich: Yesterday, around 3:00PM

Attendant walks off and is huddling with other employees. Arms flailing. Voices raising.

Attendant: We found your car. It will be here in 5 minutes. I sent two drivers to get it.
Rich: But it only has one steering wheel.


At no time did I really ever think my car was stolen. But I have to tell you that when the customer has lived up to their end of an agreement it is time for employees to figure out where they or their process failed. Not make the customer feel as if he or she did something wrong.

Teaching employees how to apologize is also a good too!


Happy National Customer Service Week. What are you doing to make your customers smile?