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Enjoy Part TWO of the Prologue in The Concierge.  The book can be purchased on Amazon. Part ONE of the Prologue was posted on May 25, 2020.

TWO

ATLANTA, GEORGIA

THOMAS GEORGE SAT at a back table in Glasco’s bar. The five-person delegation from China sat at a table in the front. Ten feet in front of the delegation was a five-piece orchestra band. The classically trained musicians were putting on a private performance for the delegation. The band played a combination of classical music with a little jazz thrown in. The private concert was the final part of the delegation’s entertainment for the day.

Thomas chose Glasco to host the concert. It was one of the best bars in Atlanta. And it was among the top one hundred in the country. It was inside the Merle Hotel. The décor was serene but classic. A temporary stage had been erected for the band. The bar’s floor and tables and chairs were dark wood. Burgundy cushions were in the chairs and booths. Small chandeliers hung from the ceiling. The lights were dim to add to the ambience of the bar.

Members of the delegation sipped on the bar’s finest wines and sat quietly and listened to the music. It was two fifteen AM. The bar was usually open to the public. But not that night. It was empty except for the five delegates, the band, the server and the bartender.

Thomas caught the attention of the server and nodded at her. He was saying, keep their glasses full. He knew the delegation liked fine wines and cheeses and appetizers. He had spoken to the manager of the bar two hours earlier. He told him if the delegation ran late he would see to it that everyone who had worked the event was compensated.

The thirteen-hour time difference between Atlanta and China almost guaranteed the event would run late. It was three fifteen PM in China.

The band stopped to take a break. The leader of the delegation waved conservatively at Thomas to come up to their table. Her name was Sue Wang. The musicians left the stage and said they would be back in ten minutes.

Sue had Thomas stand with her in front of their table. The rest of the delegation had stood. Sue spoke about their day and how Thomas had made it unforgettable. The rest of the delegation told Thomas—in their broken English— “Thank you.” Sue then presented Thomas with a box wrapped in red and gray wrapping paper.

Sue told Thomas the gift was for him for his graciousness.

Thomas understood the importance of receiving a gift and praise from the delegation. He warmly and graciously accepted it. He had gone beyond the limits of ensuring that their day was memorable. Not just because of who they were.

Thomas believed everyone should receive top-notch service at the Merle. It did not matter if a guest paid six hundred a night for a room or seven thousand per night for a suite. The service was the same. And these guests were paying seven thousand a night for each of the three suites they were in.

The delegation was in Atlanta to meet with the mayor and governor. They were going to discuss several business ventures that their company wanted to pursue with the city and state. The meetings were scheduled for the next day. The mayor had entrusted Thomas to show the delegation a good time.

Thomas had allowed the delegation to choose what they wanted to see. He cleverly gave them many options and asked their opinions on what they wanted. They visited Mercedes Benz Stadium, World of Coke, MLK Center, High Museum of Art, Botanical Gardens and strolled a few Atlanta Streets.

Lunch was a smorgasbord from various places. Hot dogs at the Varsity was one of those places. Sweet Auburn Barbecue was another. Eddie’s café was another stop. Eddie’s was known for its homemade soup loaded with meat.

Dinner was at Carac. Carac was a five-star restaurant inside the Merle. Its specialty was American cuisine. The delegation had wanted what they called American food. The private concert culminated the day.

After the concert, Thomas escorted the delegation to the elevators.

On his drive home, Thomas expected to get a call from the mayor. She would want to know what he and the delegation talked about. Sometimes he felt like a spy for whoever was the mayor.

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Have a good weekend.

See you next week.

Stephen Wallace