Wednesday, 27 July 2011
I've talked before about dolmuş drivers going out of their way to accommodate their passengers. On Sunday I planned to bus over to Bodrum mid-afternoon and travel back in the evening with Mr A. I waited at the village bus stop for the bus due at 2.30pm. Before the dolmuş arrived the phone was ringing in the tiny office and one of the men from the teahouse popped over to answer it. When the dolmuş arrived he had a word with the driver. I got on the bus, paid my 1 lira which takes me to the main Bodrum road, a journey of 5 minutes. However, the driver reversed the bus and set off back in the direction that he had come. He carried on driving until we reached the next village...about 12 kilometres away, and a bit further till we reached a fish restaurant way out in the woods (a place I never knew existed, but think I'll visit some time).
It would seem that the phone call was from the restaurant to say that two customers needed collecting to go to Milas. When we arrived, there was no sign of them. One of the passengers got off the bus and went to look for them...nothing. We waited 5 minutes, then the driver went off to search. He came back on his own and we waited a further 5 minutes. Eventually, someone came out and informed the driver that the people concerned had managed to get a lift into Milas after all.
Wouldn't you think the driver would be a little upset or annoyed? Not a bit...he shrugged his shoulders...reversed the bus and set off again. My 5 minute journey to the main road took almost an hour. I guess before I lived here, something like this would have annoyed me, but how can you be upset when someone is going out of their way to be helpful?
I've been over at the hotel with Mr A a fair amount this past couple of weeks and I've been observing this helpfulness firsthand. If you are a guest in a hotel and you have a problem, your first port of call is Reception. Guests latch on pretty quickly to the fact that if Reception don't respond immediately they can just take their problem to another member of staff...and another...and so on until they get what they want.
Mr A works for the Hamam...his job is to sell tickets...that's it. The running of the hotel and guests problems relating to their stay, are not his concern. However, like everyone else here, he won't refuse to help if he can. In the short time I've been there, I have seen him respond to the following:
"My aircon in my room isn't working"
"I'm not happy with my room, can you get me transferred to another one?"
"I've booked a day trip tomorrow, but I'm not feeling well, so will the rep refund my money?"
"I need to see a doctor" (Mr A took this person to the hospital, and waited while they received treatment then brought them back)
"It's very windy and the umbrellas around the pool are blowing about...can you make them safe?"
"Where can I go to buy ...... ?(fill in the blank space with any number of items such as herbs & spices, shorts, sun lotion, medicines, etc)
I could go on...the list of requests for help is endless...and it's time consuming. And I know that Mr A isn't the only one. Everyone from cleaners, to bar staff, to waiters will be asked for help and will willingly give it. One of the Turkish reps actually took it upon himself to assist two guests to move to a different hotel. They had been booked into this hotel by mistake. Their own tour rep was unavailable until the evening and they were anxious to move, so he arranged transport and escorted them there.
It must be catching, because I was asked yesterday where the nearest ATM machine was situated, and having given directions and been met with confusion, I escorted the guest out of the hotel, 10 minutes up to the main road to show them where it was.
Coming from a country where it's more usual to get the response "I can't help you..it's not my job"...it must be a refreshing change for visitors to Turkey to find that they only have to ask...anyone...and help is provided willingly.