“Being the new/old guy”
by Brad Lattin
Finally, after several years of working in many facets of the hospitality industry, I have made my way back to the place where it all started for me – Educational Tours. It’s the company my father started 30 years ago. It’s the company that currently employs my older brother, Brian. It’s the company that has employed two of my uncles for over 25 years. It’s the company that has unbelievably talented employees of 10, 15, 20+ years who have known me since I was young. Yep, I am definitely home.
This is supposed to be a “bio” blog – where I tell you all about my background, my work experience, my education, and so forth. I’m sure all of that information will come out at various times during my interactions with you. For now, I want to tell you a story about what it means to work for Educational Tours. Don’t hold your breath, this may take a while… 🙂
It was eight years ago. The 5th Grade Citrus Safety Patrol trip to Washington D.C. was off and running. I, along with my Uncle Tom, was supervising the ten-bus move. Some quick math here – ten buses represent roughly 500 students & chaperones which, needless to say, are quite a few eager minds!
Among those eager minds was a young girl – we’ll call her Alex – and her father, who we’ll call Bruce. Now, the naked eye would immediately indicate to anyone that this girl and her father were a bit different than most. Alex was of Asian descent, and Bruce was a man well into his sixties, and was absolutely not of Asian descent. Clearly, there were some circumstances far beyond my realm of understanding that brought these two together. Regardless, they identified themselves as father and daughter. Bruce also had a very noticeable limp and had much trouble getting around, though he did not use crutches or a wheelchair. For anyone who has ever been, you know full well that a Washington D.C. tour involves miles and miles and miles of walking. I was concerned. I was concerned Alex may not get to see and do everything on the tour given the circumstances. I was concerned Bruce may not be able to keep up with the pace of the tour, or possibly injure himself more severely. I was also dead wrong.
They walked all the way up the hill at Arlington National Cemetery. They walked from the Lincoln Memorial, to the Korean, to the Vietnam Memorial. They walked up every step at the Jefferson Memorial. They walked the national mall from Smithsonian to Smithsonian. Never in my life had I seen a love so deep for a child that one man would endure tremendous amounts of discomfort and downright pain in order to make sure that a young girl had the time of her life on a class field trip. Never in my life had I seen an eleven year-old girl love her dad so much that she would forgo “hanging out with her friends” to see all the sites DC had to offer hand in hand with her father. Never in my life had I been more touched, more inspired, more proud to be part of a company that provided this opportunity for a father and daughter, regardless of circumstances, to tour our nation’s capital together. I checked in with them several times throughout the tour, and met with them one last time before the trip concluded. They were exhausted, worn out, tired, but they were still smiling, happier than ever, and grateful. All went well, and Alex and Bruce had created some memories that would last forever.
Stories like these are the lifeblood of Educational Tours. They’re in our DNA. We are in the memories business, and it means something to work here. Stories like these are tangible reminders of why we do what we do. We impact young minds and allow students to expand their education beyond the walls of a classroom.
If we are fortunate enough to earn your business, understand that our single most important goal is to make sure your students receive the trip they deserve – one that produces lifelong memories through educational travel.
Until next time…