Three Days of Hospitality

on September 8 | in Student Life | by Sofiya Nigamova | with No Comments

 

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My name is Sophia. I have been studying the BBA in International Hotel Management at Les Roches Marbella for the past 2 years and I did my first internship at Ritz Carlton Moscow’s Club Lounge. This hotel is situated in the city center near the Red Square and it so happens that Ritz Carlton is very busy during the Victory Day parade on May 9th because everyone likes to enjoy the celebrations up close. And this is my story, a story about Victory Day.

The 9th of May is Victory Day in Russia, one of my country’s most important days that symbolizes the steadfastness and strength of the Russian soul. In 2015 in Moscow a celebration took place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945. And for Russians this event means much more than most people realize. Every year we celebrate this day with a big parade that brings together the veterans from all over the country. The 2015 parade was the largest and most lavish parade held in Russian history.

My story begins on the 6th day of May.

6th of May  – A War Hero Arrives

On this day a very important guest arrived at our hotel – Belskaya Lidiya Alekseevna. Ms. Alekseevna is 96-year-old hero and was field surgeon during The Great Patriotic War. She is one of the few who saw how soldiers raised the flag on the Reichstag building. Everyone from the hotel was so excited to see her and to talk with her even for just few minutes. I was one of the lucky ones because during her trip she was often a guest in the Club Lounge.

On this first day she told me incredible stories from the war. Also, she told me that she lives in the capital of Moldova, and she came to see the Great Parade because of a deputy who had asked her.

7th of May  – Enter Steven Seagal, Actor

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The deputy who invited Dr. Alekseevna came to Ritz Carlton this day and told my Director that he did not have tickets for her and for her companion, and pleaded with the hotel to find some. After this conversation the entire hotel staff went crazy trying to find tickets in every possible way. In order to get tickets you had to work for the government, be a famous star or have an invitation from the beginning: there was just no other way even if one was willing to buy it.

Everyone was sending letters to other deputies and various associations, but they said again and again that they could not help us. I could not believe that there were not even 2 tickets to the parade for these amazing woman. She deserved to be there more than the popular stars and rich businessmen.

Well, at the same time the actor, Steven Seagal, who happens to be one of our regular guests, was staying in the hotel for several months.  He came to the Club Lounge where I was working every day. I got to know him very well as he regularly took his meals at the club and I knew that he had one ticket to the parade. So, I just decided to try my luck and I explained the situation with our war veteran guest and asked him if he would be willing to give her his ticket.  However, to do this required me to ask for a personal meeting through his security. Thankfully they let me inside his room and for 30 minutes I explained to him the whole situation. He was shocked! He could not believe that she did not have an invitation, and right away he offered me his ticket.

But everything was not so easy…The invitation had his name on it and no one else was allowed to use it except for him. I was literally crying but I could not give up. I remembered that my mom’s best friend was the ex-wife of one of the city’s deputies, so I got in touch with her trying to get some help or some useful contacts. She gave me several numbers, and I just started to call everyone who might be able to help. By the end of the day, I even got to talk with

Minister of Defense of Russia and he gave me a small hope, but I wouldn’t know until the next day. So I started to wait…

8th of May – The Greatest Day of My Life

russia-victory-dat-at-ritz-carlton-moscowOne day left before the Great Parade. When I came to work that morning, I could not think of anything except the ticket. Lydiya Alekseevna still did not know that she did not have a ticket, and when she came for breakfast she told me how excited she was to see the parade. She was dreaming about this day for a long time with hope in her heart that she may see soldiers who she had been to war with. I could actually feel what she was feeling that day!

The whole morning, I did not release the phone from my hand knowing that at any second they might call. And finally…the most important call in my life came. I could not breathe! Two tickets were available which would fill the life of one incredible hero with happiness. And I had them.

They called and said that they were going to bring them in the evening. All my colleagues were around me and were waiting for me to say something, but I could not. I just started to cry and jump because of the happiness inside of me. That evening the secretary of the Minister of Defense came with flowers and tickets for Lydiya Alekseevna and the truth came out that until now there were no tickets. She could not believe that the deputy had lied to her, and that because of the spirit and hospitality of the hotel staff her dream to see the Great Parade came true.

After these three days at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton, I realized that the profession I have chosen is going to make me feel happy for my whole life. I truly felt what hospitality is for myself. When you do everything for a guest with no material benefit for you, but instead you get this amazing feeling which you have when you see guests with a big smile on their faces and receive lots of words of how grateful they are, you realize that this is why you chose this profession and this way of life. These were three days of hospitality that I will never forget.

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