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Hospital Food and the Customer Experience

Across the street from Heritage’s headquarters in Dallas is an unassuming hero of the community: the Scottish Rite Hospital.

I go there almost every day, and believe it or not, it is for the food. At least, that’s why I started going.

The food at the hospital is far better and far less expensive than most of my local alternatives. But I continue to go because of reasons that can only be explained through stories of some of my visits.

I once walked into the lobby and saw the original Twelfth Man football squadron from Texas A&M – guys my age who were studying alongside me in college as I was earning my undergraduate in College Station. They were there to honor the children who were patients there. I stood in line, chatted with them, got their autographs on a Twelfth Man towel, and shook the hand of former head coach Jackie Sherrill, whom I once bumped into on the elevator in Rudder Tower. Now I have a great memory and a cherished collectible from my alma mater.

There is the time I walked into that same lobby to find a small army of television reporters and cameras and a small crowd gathered around a young teenage girl performing a ballet. I stopped to watch and thought to myself, “She is really good, but I wonder what makes her stand out enough to warrant television time?” After a stellar performance, the young lady walked away from center stage and sat down, where she calmly removed both prosthetic legs and let her real legs (which stopped at or above the knee) rest from her work. Until she did that, I had no idea that she was “handicapped” in any way. My lunch that day was accompanied by this meditation: my life should be like hers – not a complaint of what I do not have but a celebration of what I do.

Nearly every time I visit, I see parents escorting their children who have various forms of physical disability. Once I remember seeing a young lady holding a baby, pushing a stroller, and trying to corral a third child while carrying a tray laden with food for them all. An elderly volunteer quickly rushed to her aid with a smile to get her to a table in one piece. At least two of those children had physical challenges that brought them to the hospital. And before I noticed her, I was lamenting the weight of my to-do list back at the office. My lament quickly found its way into the mental trash can I have labeled “first world problems” and I returned to the office with a renewed sense of what is important.

What is important? Other people.

The Scottish Rite Hospital inspires me because the very purpose of that organization and its building is to serve other people and improve the quality of their lives. It inspires me to ensure that everything that I do here at Heritage is for the benefit of other people. My purpose is to serve and encourage my staff to provide red-carpet experiences for our clients through a landscape of technological touch points.

Thank you, Scottish Rite. See you for lunch tomorrow.


Brian Shipman is the CIO of Heritage Auctions – a fantastically unique place to work. Heritage’s mission is to help people successfully acquire or pass on rare and significant objects that have both monetary and soul-stirring value. His job is to create a quality customer experience using the red carpet of technology.

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1 Comment

  1. AutismMan11 says:

    What a challenge for us, your readers, to focus on what is truly important. Too often we major on the minors and minor on the majors!

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