Over the years, I have had a number of casino frontline employees communicate with me, sometimes after reading this column, sometimes after meeting me in my consulting role when I was at their casino property, and even sometimes after encountering me when I was their casino customer.
Occasionally, these hard-working casino team members will tell me where they felt I was wrong in my observations of the casino business, or they will point out something that I missed in describing the “casino trenches” and the type of day-in, day-out interactions they typically have with their casino customers as well as their casino supervisors.
But what these casino employees usually do is thank me. They thank me for describing their world with some semblance of insight, passion and appreciation.
For me, that’s not hard to do. Which leads me to Brandon Traynor.
Brandon is a frontline slot supervisor, has been for many years, at a casino which he never disclosed to me. He has written to me about half a dozen times, usually after reading one of my Casino Journalcolumns. He is typically complimentary, graciously appreciative and very insightful.
I received the following email from Brandon a few weeks before I was scheduled to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award (along with Steve Browne) at the Casino Marketing and Technology Conference in Las Vegas:
Just wanted to congratulate you on the Lifetime Achievement Award. I read everything you write and I look forward to reading your articles after a long day at work. It makes me feel like I am doing something worthwhile at my job and that I am part of something bigger when I read them. As big a name as you are, you took the time to personally respond to my e-mails in the past, and because of it I have learned so much and been able to bring an enjoyable experience and that means a lot to me. I’m only a floor person in a small casino…so I won’t be able to attend (the award ceremony), but when you hear the applause as you get your award, know that there is clapping going on beyond that room, cheering you on. Well deserved, sir.
I did send a nice note to Brandon after receiving that flattering e-mail. I also read it at the end of my Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance remarks and thanked “all of the Brandon Traynors in our casino world” who worked so genuinely and so tirelessly to create a casino experience that enriches the lives of our casino players.
But what I neglected to say then, I must say now:
Brandon, it is not I who deserves an award, it is you, and all of our industry’s team members who toil in the trenches, but continue, somehow, to truly care about bringing a smile to a casino guest or leaving them feeling a little bit better for having encountered you.
It is you, my friend, who probably toils in a smoky environment, endures times of being short of help when you most need it, and puts up with wage freezes and benefit cutbacks when business gets soft.
It is you who must listen to how you need to do your job and how you can best serve a guest, when in truth, there is no one that knows how to do that any better than you.
It is you who deals with those sometimes cranky guests who lost more than they intended or got stonewalled when they couldn’t redeem an expired free-play coupon, or met a team member having a bad day who wouldn’t or couldn’t answer their simple question.
It is you Brandon, who deserves an award. For every too-important muckety-muck like me, who thinks they know this industry, there is a Brandon Traynor out there who really gets what matters in our business and to our guests and brings that with them to the casino every day.
So it is I, my friend, who thanks you. You are the true hero. Without all of the Brandon Traynors, we are nothing.