Thursday, March 10, 2011

ThePeach is a good ambassador

We had an important guest speaker at work this week.

He was kind of a big deal, from a fairly major company, and our company was very excited to have him with us for a few days. We flew him in from Miami. He was Cuban, mid-30s, and wore expensive suits. He was to give us training sessions on topics of great importance.

I’m not sure who decided I should be in charge of his welfare. That was a mistake. But somehow, the big important guest speaker was left in the responsibilities of…ThePeach.

My job was simple enough. For the two days he was with us, I was in charge of his leavings. Help him find his coat. Help him clean up after his training. Get him through security. Get him a cab. Simple enough.

Day 1 went fine. I was a pro.

Here’s how Day 2 went.

After his session, he peeked his head into my office and said he was ready to go. I helped him clean up. I helped him find his coat. I got him through security. I called him a cab.

When it was time to say goodbye, he leaned in. He leaned in.

I was not expecting this.

So I did what any professional would do and gave him a giant hug.

“Ok! Great to meet you! Safe trip!” I said, still hugging the big shot presenter in the Armani suit. I patted his back jovially.

He pulled away and looked at me with horror. His eyes bulged and he shook his head back and forth, repeatedly.

“No, no. No, no.” he said, stepping backwards.

“I’m Cuban. In Latin culture we cheek-kiss when we say goodbye.” He pointed at his cheek, slowly, to make sure I understood.

He was going for the cheek-kiss.

And I gave him a giant bear hug, complete with back-pats.

I hugged our guest speaker. This will always be his final impression of our company – the awkward chick who hugged him in the lobby, beside the security guard.

I’m really not cut out for the corporate world.