A Lesson In Customer Service from a 12th-Century Irish Castle

One thing that I have learned in marketing and business is, everyone enjoys a good story. My family and I recently returned from an amazing holiday in Ireland. About halfway through the trip, I realized that my 6-year-old son James had lost his favorite stuffed animal, “Baby Panda.”

We were on the go for 12 days, landing in Dublin and driving to the beautiful Western Coast, and then finally back again to fly home. We were bound to leave something behind, but how do you explain that to a 6-year-old boy who comes running into the room each morning with anywhere from 3–7 stuffed bears?When it was time to pack their extremely small suitcases for their first plane ride, their mom and I said they could each bring one very very small lovey. James chose baby Pandy and the journey began.We actually realized we had lost Panda around mid-trip. I was just hoping that he was in one of our bags and we would find it when we got home. So I had a relative idea of where we had parted ways. When we got home to the United States, I reached out to the beautiful place where we had stayed called Kilkea Castle, near the village of Kilkea in County Kildare.

It’s a breathtaking place to stay and was built in 1180. You can stay inside the castle, but we rented out two Carriage Houses in the castle courtyard. In the morning we woke to this amazing castle just steps away across the gravel courtyard. I reached out on their Facebook page, explained the story, and offered to pay for shipping home. Then as an extra incentive, I told their social team if they do find it feel free to take pictures with it around the castle for a social campaign, before sending it home.

Within hours, I received a response that they were looking for him, and later that he had been found! Last week they posted a spread of photos and took it to the next level. They had their Castle Monkey stuffed animal Petri tour him around the golf course, spa, and hotel and posted it on their Facebook and Instagram. We showed little James the post and told him that Baby Panda had been found and that he would soon be returning home. He asked if Panda would get his own plane seat. Lol.

Last week, a package arrived. The kind folks at Kilkea Castles not only sent back Baby Panda free of charge, but they also sent his new friend Petri the Monkey and two hats for my kids to wear. This was all free of charge, and that is not lost on me.

I think the lesson here goes beyond social media and likes. It’s really another great story of human kindness from people in one part of the world to another. It also drums home a lesson that we have been trying to teach our children which is, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. As my son grows older this story will serve as a great lesson and reminder about a truly magical and beautiful country where many of his ancestors were born. And for all of my friends in business, it’s a great reminder that acts of kindness towards your customers don’t have to be a hard thing, and they often have extremely positive results. To the amazing team at Kilkea Castle, James, myself and my family wanted to say Thank you so much for your help and kindness.