What makes an experience so unbelievable…you will never forget it? The day after my furry dog son Jake died, I was catatonic. Realizing this, my husband packed a small bag for the two of us, loaded it and me into the car and drove to Santa Barbara. I never knew a heart could be so badly broken. After dinner the first night my husband asked our server if there was another great restaurant in town for the next night. She recommended a place called Opal and suggested we go straight away to make a reservation as it was difficult to get. She told us her friend Alex worked there so just tell him she sent us. We walked up the street to Opal and sure enough, Alex was working. Unfortunately, he told us they were fully booked. I guess my face spoke a thousand words as he looked at my disappointment and asked if it was a special occasion. Not able to speak the words, my husband told him the reason for our trip. He came out from behind the podium and gave me a big hug. He then said he would find us a good spot and asked us to come back the next night a 7:30.

We showed up at the restaurant only to find that Alex wasn’t working but they for sure knew who we were and we were shown to the best table in the packed house. After an amazing dinner, the waiter asked if we would like coffee or desert. Neither of us are big desert eaters but my husband had coffee.

What happened next was fairytale. The waiter came back to the table with a fruit torte and written in chocolate on the rim of the plate was this message:


Alex, though off that night, had conveyed the message to the restaurant owner who had conveyed the message to the chef who prepared this for our server to give to us. Needless to say, tears started to stream down my face. The table next to us asked my husband what the occasion was and when he told them, all six of them started crying too. It was a cry fest but mostly, it was one of those guest experiences I will never forget.

I ran to both Yelp and Tripadvisor with this story and I have sent everyone I know traveling to Santa Barbara to this restaurant. Do you have people on your team who shine?

Please tell me your ultimate guest experience story. Who and what made it memorable?

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