Charlotte, A City With A Heart of Gold

Posted on September 7, 2012 by Have A Voice Team

By: Bill Leonard, SHRM Sr. Writer

Not many people know that Charlotte, N.C., site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, was one of the first gold-rush boomtowns in the United States. That’s right; Charlotte was the epicenter of the first gold rush in U.S. history and had two of the largest operating gold mines, (the St. Catharine’s and Rudisill) in the nation prior to the discovery of gold in California.

The gold mines brought the first branch mint in the U.S., then a railroad, and then of course the banks—which Charlotte is now famous for. So the heart of Charlotte is literally gold.

And this week, during the Democratic National Convention, the city shined just like its golden heart. Many of the 50,000-plus visitors were commenting just how friendly, welcoming and warm people in Charlotte were. On the front lines of this “good will fest” were the police. Police were everywhere in Charlotte’s downtown, but it was just amazing to me that this huge police presence wasn’t intimidating at all. In fact, the police were a pleasure. They were engaging, cheerful and should I dare say it … even fun.

Some of the police directing traffic were literally performance artists. Convention-goers stood on the street corners laughing, applauding and taking pictures. If one of these cops had a Native American name it would have to be “Dances with Cars.”

I had several encounters with the police as I looked for ways around blockades and closed streets. Each time I stopped or was confused by the road closures, the cops who came to my aid were just so nice, and I thanked them profusely for their help several times. I even began just randomly thanking cops and complimenting them doing a great job. It seemed to work because I think the police became nicer and friendlier with each passing day.

I think all this good-will began permeating the entire downtown area; everybody seemed upbeat, friendly—even the protesters. The co-operation and friendliness became pervasive, and I benefited because someone with the New Mexico delegation whom I had never met, handed me a pass to see President Obama’s acceptance speech on Thursday night (Sept. 6, 2012).

This effusion of good will and friendliness got me to thinking about the value of good customer service. Because as corny as might sound, good customer service and relations were really what lay at the heart of these golden moments in Charlotte. I think we could all learn a wonderful lesson from what happened at the DNC this past week.

First and foremost, be nice and civil to people. In addition be helpful whenever you can, and compliment people on a job well done; tell them that you appreciate their good work and efforts. Do this, and I swear you will be paid back in something much more valuable than gold.

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