I am so excited! Last night I received a message from a mother of a young man I recently met. Having always worked in the public eye it might seem odd that it would be exciting to hear from a mom, right?
Although I am an anti-aging fiery grandma of eight, I am also a mom of two. Do you have kids or grandkids? For many years, my husband and I showered our kids with praises for their accomplishments. Whether they played soccer, softball, football, basketball, or volleyball it did not matter. We were proud of what our kids did and the humans they were as they grew up.
As young adults both our son and daughter had to learn to put to good use the manners, skills, and lessons we taught. Now, if you do have kids you know a mom and dad always hold their breath for a while to see how their young ones will fare in the big wide world.
As it turned out both of them made some mistakes; but because we had a good relationship and never told them, “I told you so” like so many do, they returned to us for advice to handle the situation. Those times are trying times for us parents, now grandparents starting over with little ones. Those mistakes are stepping-stones to maturity and teach them how to be good parents, too.
Here it is years later and we can say once again that we are proud of our kids. Each has become a responsible young adult and successful in their own right. Our daughter has four beautiful kids who are the light of our lives. Our son has grown into a fine young businessperson, now a barber who is building a solid reputation within his company and community. These qualities and lives are what parents hope for from the time the kids are born.
Enough about my family and let’s get back to the mom who emailed me and why I am excited. You see, well…here is the story of her son – then I will tell you why she wrote us.
I grew up listening to country-western music
This past weekend one of our son’s customers treated us to a country music concert. Randy showed his appreciation for the enchanting customer service he has received from our son, by giving him tickets to the concert. We are so proud of our son, Dan. He has grown into a wonderful young man and an exemplary employee.
Any parent would be happy to see that their hard work raising their children paid off, right? It was especially exciting to watch firsthand the interaction between Dan and Randy. Each man was just himself while putting the needs of the other ahead of their own. This mom’s heart almost burst with pride.
There was no way we could know in advance that the events of the evening would teach us such a big lesson. Popularity and stardom do not necessarily mean a person has to be arrogant or rude. This star was the salt of the earth. He displayed the humble traits of a true country boy. Joe Nichols will always hold a place in my family’s heart due to his actions after the concert.
Yes, part of our admission included a “meet and greet” with Joe himself. I have to admit, I had no idea what this really meant, but it was an event we will not forget for a very long time. Joe Nichols has mastered the art of enchantment with his fans and followers.
Cold drinks and meeting friends
Arriving early, Randy treated us to ice-cold drinks to quench our thirst. The temperature was balmy 85 degrees and humid. There was a slight breeze. It kept us cool as it touched our sweating brow. The cold drink washed away the dust kicked up by the crowd in front of us at the fair.
Our son introduced us to his friend and customer who graciously gave us the tickets. Randy, a local businessperson is very involved in his community and a solid family man, too. Watching him throughout the evening, you could see he has a true servant’s heart. He was constantly making sure everyone was having a good time, even giving up his personal seat.
Crowd watching has always been a hoot for us. People from all lifestyles came to see Joe Nichols, a famous country singer, and performer. We saw cowboys and cowgirls right off the local ranches. Teenagers dressed in short shorts and cowboy boots gathered in circles excitedly chattering about the impending show. Business people from the community brought their parents, grandparents, and children, too. Grandma and grandpa held the hands of the little ones. One little girl even had small pink cowboy boots on. She was so adorable. People of all ages were ready to enjoy the sounds of country music.
Let the show begin
It was finally time for the concert to get started. The sun had set a few minutes earlier and now the stagehands cranked up the stage lights. The warm-up band, Curtis & Luckey had the crowd clapping their hands, swaying to the music in anticipation of the star of the show making his grand entrance.
Now I would learn first hand how to “self-promote”. After the warm-up songs and entertainment ended the lead singer announced, they had a gift for everyone in attendance. Sending their promotion crew into the audience, they handed each guest a postcard. This card was promoting their new hit single, “I Have a Dream”. There was also a link to download the entire album FREE.
At the bottom of the postcard were three small bottle cap pictures…can you guess what they were? Each picture represented a different social media site. Yes, Twitter, YouTube, and FaceBook were clearly marked so we, the fans, could find and follow them on social media. Do you think we should follow what they are doing in country music to promote their business?
Country Boy, Joe Nichols rocks the house
By now; the crowd was primed and ready for the main performance. It was very refreshing to see men as well as women excited to listen to and engage with Joe in his music. Unlike many performers today who have groupies in their following I did not see any that evening. There were no tears, no extravagant dress, and definitely no screaming at the top of their lungs to drown out the concert.
I had to wonder though…maybe I am getting older, maybe I cannot relate to the younger generation and the extremes they go to wanting to fit in. Each person in attendance that night remained who they were. No pretenses, no airs put on, just down-to-earth country folks from all over the country.
Many of the songs Joe sang had stories within the words. One, in particular, got my attention. It is titled “The Impossible”. It made such an impression on me that I had to share it with you. Watch the video and really listen to the words.
Country music written from each writer’s heart tells his or her story. I think it is the same for you and me. When we feel passionate about an issue, our job or business is when we are most effective at helping others. Don’t you think that is true?
Meet and Greet
When the concert was over, we headed down to the secure area behind the stage. We all were a bit nervous never having met a big country-western star before.
Joe Nichols was born in Rogers, Ark., on Nov. 26, 1976. His father drove a truck but also played bass and sang. Nichols would hear and watch his dad perform at VFW dates. Like Nichol’s grandfather and uncles, his dad played classic country music.
Like many other country-western musicians stardom and success did not come easy for Joe. His first major hit was in 2002 after his father died. This is the story behind the song that shot to the top, “The Impossible”. You can read more of Joe’s biography on CMT.com.
The manager had us line up in a single line. Joe spent a few moments with each person. His warm smile and sparkling eyes made his tanned face glow. He gave a quick hello, thank you, and a hug to the women and girls. Each man received a firm handshake and a firm hand on the shoulder. You could feel his genuine gratitude.
His manager arranged for one of his crew to snap photos of everyone using their iPhones, cameras, or both. Some of the fans had him autograph their cowboy boots, hats, tickets, and jackets. The beauty queen contestants presented their sashes for autographs along with their sparkling smiles.
My husband and I were in line about midway when we noticed our son and his friend at the end of the line. We decided to stay put and take our turn. Joe expressed his thanks to us for taking time out of our day to enjoy his passion with him. Wow! That was out of the ordinary, that statement surprised us.
We had our tickets and Rich’s ball cap autographed, clicked our picture and off we went to wait for our son. Soon it was our son Dan’s turn. There was yet another surprise coming. The country music star called us back up to talk again. When he found out we were Dan’s parents he told our son, “You need a picture with them”. Again, this man’s sincere thoughts and actions were enchanting!
Finally, Joe put the icing on the cake. For our family photo with him, he put his arm around Rich on one side. Dan was next to Joe with me on the outside. Joe stretched his arm over Dan’s shoulder, guided me into his loving hug of our family, and said, “This is family”. Overcome with emotion at his attention to every detail I was speechless. What country-western star do you know enchants like that?
Floating on Cloud 9 we all left the area chatting like baby robins in the nest. We all were shocked at the personal interaction of such a well-known man. I bet his momma is proud.
Next stop, souvenirs
We made our way through the crowd to find the table filled with Joe Nichols souvenirs. Tee shirts representing different songs done by Joe were plentiful. There were key chains, wristbands, ball caps, pictures, and CDs. My family wanted an autographed tee shirt and I wanted a CD.
While waiting in the long line we were watching people, again. When you listen to what others talk about you can get a good sense of what they want. These fans wanted to see Joe, up close and personal.
However, the meet and greet were over. I wondered how they would get what they wanted. Then everyone went crazy. We could not figure out what the commotion was and then…there he was. Joe had left the secure area and come out front, to the masses for pictures, handshakes, and autographs.
He spent the next hour greeting his fans, taking pictures, and thanking them for supporting him and his dream. I overheard him tell a young girl, never give up, always follow her heart. He took his time with each fan, not to rush them and not to forget anyone. Each person left with a big smile and a huge place for him in their hearts.
Unexpectedly we were back face to face with the star once again. With a big grin and his cute sense of humor, he said, “Back again”. My son, with an equally funny sense of humor, said, “You are so good we came back for seconds”. We all laughed, clicked even more photos, and got more autographs and a bigger hug.
We will never forget the love and appreciation shown to us by Joe Nichols and his staff. None of the fans at the Lassen County Fair in Susanville, CA July 22, 2011, will ever forget him either. This is what remaining humble will do even when you are a big country-western music star. When you keep your focus on your customer, when you make them happy then your dreams and goals will come true, too.
Thanks, Joe for the lesson in enchanting customer service. Oh, and as for your momma, she is proud, Joe. She emailed showing her appreciation…to me this anti-aging, fiery grandma of eight, for writing from my heart about her son, you – Joe Nichols, her son, an artist, performer, and humble country boy.
Thanks, mom! We love getting mail like that!