Mickey Barnes, a server at The Lobster restaurant next to the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier, has been awarded the second Thelma Parks Tourism Spirit Award.
The Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau awarded the honor to Barnes who has been an employee at The Lobster for 11 years.
He said his two favorite things about working at The Lobster are the customers he meets everyday and the coworkers he considers family.
"The secret to excellent customer service is to always take care of your guests like you would take care of your family...and don't forget to have fun at your job," Barnes said.
Barnes "ran home to Santa Monica" as a finisher in the Los Angeles Marathon for the past three years and will run it again in March 2013.
He is not the only award winner in his family.
This proud father is the Defensive Coordinator for the Santa Monica Vikings Junior Pee Wee league (his 11 year old son is the quarterback) and the team just won the National Championships in Las Vegas last month.
The Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau created the Thelma Parks Tourism Spirit Awards in memory of Thelma Parks, who was an integral part of the Santa Monica tourist experience serving as a SMCVB Travel Counselor for 23 loyal years.
These awards honor exceptional employees in the hospitality and tourism industry. Award winners will be selected and honored quarterly, in partnership with Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, with one outstanding employee receiving the Thelma Parks Tourism Scholarship each May during the annual SMCVB Travel & Tourism Summit.
"The tourism industry supports 11,000 jobs in Santa Monica. It is a pleasure to learn more about one of our own and acknowledge the hard work Mickey puts toward delivering unforgettable experiences to visitors and residents at The Lobster in Santa Monica", said Misti Kerns, President and CEO of SMCVB.
Nomination forms for the Thelma Parks Tourism Spirit Award are distributed through the Official Santa Monica Visitors Guide and throughout the city at attractions, hotels, and restaurants.
Visitors can also nominate an employee who gave them an excellent experience online at www.santamonica.com/spiritaward. Businesses who would like to distribute nomination forms to their customers should contact SMCVB at 310.319.6263.
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