Funniest Memory of My First Northern Trust Open Volunteer Experience

by Alex Ancheta
(Los Angeles, CA)

When you're in customer support, you get the weirdest requests and hilarious, but sometimes, biting complaints. But so far, the most memorable one I have (working in support roles for pay as well as a volunteer) is during my first NTO (Northern Trust Open) volunteer year (2014).

I volunteered to be part of the communications team and part of what I had to do was triage calls for information and assistance.

On my second day of volunteering, I received a call from an elderly couple asking for a cart ride from the corner near the front gate of the Riviera Country Club to the golf course. Of course, I requested a member of attendee services to head over to the gate to pick them up. I received word from the volunteer member with the cart that there was no elderly couple waiting.

So I figured they must have decided to walk instead of wait for the cart to get there and I dismissed it. 10 minutes later, I received a call again from the elderly couple, asking when the cart was coming. I said the cart got to the gate but they couldn't be found there. The elderly man said they were there and still waiting. I then asked, if they were at the Riviera CC gate, and they said, yes. So I sent the volunteer again to the gate; but this time I told him to bring a radio handset with him so we can communicate. As expected, they weren't there. So I immediately dialed the elderly couple's phone and told them, that there's a man waiting with a cart to shuttle them but they aren't there. He insisted they were. So I asked him to describe the gate. He then realized that they were at the Middle School Gate. That explained everything. I told him to sit tight and redirected the volunteer with the cart to head over to the middle school to pick them up.

Funny thing was there were 3 other elderly couples also waiting for a ride, totally confused where they were supposed to go. Apparently, the shuttle bus from the parking area in the Veterans' Medical Center dropped them there and did not give directions where to walk. Suffice to say, I had to dispatch two additional carts to pick up the poor couples.

As for the couple's trouble, I tried to assuage their irritation by offering them meal coupons for their trouble.

Quite a day for a first time volunteer. But it was definitely memorable.

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