By GERRY BARKER
Some say customer service is a thing of the past. Many times, as we all know, that's true. But when you do experience exemplary service, it should be acknowledged and praised. And that's why we say, "Great job, Nuri!"
We met Nuri in Belize City on a shore excursion during a Celebrity Apex cruise. He was one of three tour guides who took us to the Lamanai Mayan ruins, located in the jungle northwest of the city. It's a one-hour bus ride, followed by 30 minutes on a high-speed boat on the Belize River.
With the sun bearing down, Pam had a wide-trim, straw hat for protection, and held onto it tightly during the boat ride. When we got off the boat, we had to cross a bridge. That's when a sudden gust of wind blew her hat right into the river. We watched in dismay as it slowly sank to the bottom of the crocodile-infested waters. C'est la guerre, as the French say.
So our first order of business was finding a shop and looking for a replacement hat. It was slim pickings, and pretty much all they had was a hat that was a better suited for kids. But it was something.
We caught up with the tour group, who were admiring the Jaguar Temple (incredible how the Mayans built their cities and temples by hand). As we stood listening to the guide, Nuri came up to Pam with -- we couldn't believe it -- her hat!
After we left the bridge, he took off his shirt and dived into the water to retrieve it. Now I think you can agree that redefines going above and beyond.
For his efforts, Nuri scored a big tip and our admiration. And the hat Pam bought is now going to our granddaughter, Cate.
If you ever get the opportunity to go to Belize and want a tour, by all means ask for Nuri. He's our hero.
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
GERRY PRONOUNCED GARY
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"