The Orange County Tourism Council presented its top service award to Robbi Rustuen, a room reservation worker for Walt Disney Co.'s Anaheim hotels who was praised for repeatedly going out of her way to help guests.
Among other things, Rustuen was singled out for returning a $100 tip, given for help in obtaining a special room, and suggesting that the guest have a special dinner instead.
Rustuen accepted the Walter Knott Award, named for the Knott's Berry Farm founder, at a recent ceremony at the Doubletree Hotel in Costa Mesa. She was one of eight workers to receive the 1999 Service Excellence Awards. She said it is "really a privilege" to work for a company in which showering "pixie dust" on customers is a priority.
The other winners were Randal Jones, a bellman at the Fairfield Inn in Anaheim; Sandy Orrill, group sales manager at the Orange County Performing Arts Center; Aurelio Valdez, attraction operations, Disneyland; Shelly Somerset, server-bartender, Birraporetti's restaurant, Costa Mesa; Abel Bratton, security officer, Irvine Spectrum; Kathy Miracle, driver, Pacific Coast Sightseeing; Phil Hannes, tourism development manager, Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Center.
The 2-year-old Service Excellence program encourages visitors to Orange County to nominate service workers for the awards. Officials said more than 600 nominations were received from all parts of the world.
E. Scott Reckard covers tourism for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7407 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.