Below is a guest post from Travel Agent Kevin Lowe. You might want to have your tissue box handy while you read this touching, personal story from Kevin.
I began my business venture into the world of the “long lost travel agent” just over 4 years ago at the age of 26. Just to give you an idea of where I’m coming from I’ll also tell you that the doors to my home-based travel agency opened just over 9 years after going completely blind at the age of 17. Breaking into an industry which in my area relies heavily on attracting the business of the senior population I found it to actually be quite difficult to get this older generation to take me serious given me being such a young whipper-snapper. Add in the fact that I didn’t have a store-front location for them to visit pretty much equaled a less than stellar start to my new career to say the least. Well, that was true until I got the call from Tom Cates…
Tom was a man who made the absolute most he could out of the couple million dollars he won sometime back in the Florida lottery. And what better way to utilize these winnings than by traveling… He and his wife began traveling in all sorts of ways, but quickly realized that there was no better way to travel than cruising! In fact, I knew just how much they loved to cruise since I’d get to hear all about their latest luxurious vacations over the dinner table at every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner since Tom Cates was better known to me and my family as good ol’ Uncle Tom. Uncle Tom relied heavily upon his travel agent to book all of his travel arrangements, so I was honestly surprised when he told me that he’d gladly start using me as his new travel agent. I didn’t take this offer lightly as I knew that he relied on his travel agent just as much as he relied on his financial advisor following his winning of the Florida lottery.
Let this begin where I tell you about the cruise that sticks out the most in my mind that I booked for Uncle Tom. Twice a year he along with his wife and at least 4 other couples would take a 7-night Caribbean cruise with Carnival Cruise Line. So when I got the call from Uncle Tom with news that they were ready to start planning their next cruise I was excited to say the least! So you can only imagine how excited I was when meeting with Uncle Tom and all the others going on this cruise, 10 people in total that he felt there to be no better idea than to go ahead and bring along their new travel agent with them on this up-coming cruise!
Now I must say that my story is probably different than the majority of those you are used to reading which tell of some elaborate trip planned for their client that surpassed the level of expertise offered by a travel agent. Well, this one is different.
My client, Uncle Tom, is one of those who although wants the grand suite on nothing less than a 7 night cruise won’t even consider going on another cruise line than Carnival. He may have won the lottery, but he isn’t about to play anything else in the casino than the penny slots. He may sit in the VIP lounge awaiting word that it’s time to board the ship at the start of his cruise, but don’t expect to find him in the dining room come formal night since he isn’t about to get dressed up in no suit and tie. This brings me to my fondest memory of the cruise I not only got to arrange for Uncle Tom and the rest of his group, but got to take with him as well.
Uncle Tom absolutely loved Carnival’s Fahrenheit Steak House and had his cruising pegged to the tee. He would take advantage of the masses flocking to the main dining room come formal night for that much sought after lobster and prime rib leaving the ship’s specialty restaurant empty. He would say, “Why get all dressed up with we can go to the steakhouse wearing comfortable clothes and get as much lobster and prime rib as we want.”
Well, my uncle knew what he was talking about since our group was the only table in the restaurant. Service was absolutely impeccable and the food was top-notch. During dinner I sat at the end of the table next to Uncle Tom and spent the entire meal talking with him. Being a family that only gathered together for Thanksgiving and Christmas I never really got a chance to talk to Uncle Tom all that much so this made this moment that much more special.
The entire cruise was absolutely perfect. Uncle Tom hit it big on the penny slots, my grandmother won the Black Jack tournament, and the rest of us made sure to enjoy each port of call with setting off on one of the many great shore excursions offered by Carnival. We all came home with memories that will last forever.
Unfortunately, this would not only be the first cruise I got to book for Uncle Tom and his group, but would also be the last. While in the process of planning the group’s next cruising adventure Uncle Tom became sick and would end up passing away. His passing took us all for a huge surprise as he had just come home from the hospital when he took a drastic turn for the worst. Just the thought that he is no longer with us leaves me in disbelief at times.
But in the end this all goes back to the motto I have come to adopt for my travel agency that we are not here to merely plan your next vacation, but to rather help create your next memory. Vacations come and go, but the memories made will last forever.
To learn more about Kevin, and how he can help you create priceless family memories, click here.