Article from the 5/26/2017 Catalina Islander

Forty years ago there was popular travel book about Catalina and it contained the following:  "When you enter beautiful Catalina Harbor you will first notice the spectacular Casino Building!"  Considering the fact that "Catalina Harbor" (also referred to as "Cat Harbor"), is down at "Two Harbors", approximately 15 miles from Avalon, on the other side of the Island, with hills and mountains in between, you would have to have "Superman Vision" to see the Casino from "Catalina Harbor".  The writer obviously got the name wrong as it should have been "Avalon Bay".  PROOF READ!
On seeing "Pebbly Beach Road", one visitor asked, "Is this part of Hwy. 101?"
"Do you have to go the Mainland to shop for groceries?"
A local girl, around 8, came up to me.  "You think you are SO SMART!  Who is my father?"  I asked her what her name was.  She told me both her first and last name so I immediately knew who her father was and told her.  SHE WAS AMAZED.  I hate tricking her, but it SO SELDOM that I outwit an 8 year old!
Getting off a cruise ship, a couple came up to me.  "Tell us the history of Catalina Island!"  As I had a lot of other questions to answer, I hesitated a moment to collect my thoughts on what I should cover in 30 second and shared that with them.  "Why did you hesitate?" the woman asked.  "I bet you made all of that history up!"
HEART FELT THANKS!  I so much appreciate those who came as far away as Chicago to celebrate my "70TH BIRTHDAY/COMING OUT CELEBRATION" on Sunday.  It was indeed a very special occasion and knowing how many conflicting events were concurrently going on I want  to especially thank Mayor Ann Marshall, Father Bill, Jordan Monroe (played the bag pipes), XCEPTIONAL MUSIC, Paula Patterson, Mitch Hammond, and Matt Affolder for helping me through this most emotional event!  Borrowing a line from my favorite movie, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE", George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) realizes how much he was loved and how having so many friends made his the "wealthiest man" and THAT is the way I feel right now.  Hopefully I can help others who are hesitant about "coming out" to feel the way I do right now!  "Jump in, the water's fine!"  Just a few sharks to worry about!
Before my fantastic job as "Official Greeter To Catalina" was "terminated" on March 16, 2017, since March 10, 2014, I had answered over 65,000 questions/comments posed to me by visitors from around the world!  Please, don't get me wrong.  I am not so arrogant as to pretend that I have answered the most questions.   Many of you would be shocked at how many you have answered over the years.  Now, I was the among the few to get paid for being a "Greeter".  "Duke" Fishman was called "Mr. Catalina" and I would NEVER consider taking anything away from him.  I have been dubbed "Catalina's Personal Google" and THAT I LOVE!  Thanks, Chris Puma!
We ALL need to be "Greeters" and "Ambassadors" to those visiting our shores.  Don't kid yourself. If it wasn't for these people choosing us over all of the other destinations around the world, we would NEVER be able to live on our "Island Paradise".  Some of you wonder the value to your business when the cruise ships ONLY let their passengers off for the day.  The Chamber Of Commerce has determined that between 3-5% of those who visit Catalina just for a day off the cruise ships come back to spend a weekend or longer!  Do the math:  approximately 150 cruise ships a year, 2500 passengers per ship, with approximately 4% returning.  WE ALL BENEFIT!!!
Here are a list of things we can ALL do to make the visitors feel that they made the correct choice in choosing Catalina:
1)  The shirts we wear daily can either help or hinder our ability to promote Catalina!  Why in "Heaven's Name" do we wear Hawaiian, Mexican, and/or Caribbean shirts!?!  They don't wear Catalina shirts in Hawaii, Mexico, or the Caribbean!   WHY NOT, maybe they know sometimes seem to forget.  We are in competition for the vacation $ with every destination around the world. When visitors see us wearing shirts from other popular travel destinations, THEY AUTOMATICALLY THINK OF THOSE OTHER LOCATIONS!   Our livelihood is at stake, so WHY help our competitors by advertising for them!?!  When we travel to the mainland, we should try to remember to wear shirts and caps showing off Catalina/Avalon.  you would be surprised how many times I have gotten into conversations with people in stores, medical facilities, etc. because they recognize what I am wearing.  WHAT AN EASY WAY TO PROMOTE OURSELVES!  If you have some clothes you aren't too crazy about, but enjoy wearing, go to "Island Threadz", Crescent/Clarissa, and with Catalina applications, they will look like new and become a walking stylish billboard!
2)   Whenever you see something wearing the "birthday button", that they receive from "Catalina Express", indicating that this is their "special day", acknowledge them and ask if  they need any assistance in locating the MANY businesses that give them "specials".  We should really promote us becoming "BIRTHDAY ISLAND"!
3)  If you find visitors in a golf cart stopped in the middle of the street, DON'T HONK at them, but pull over, get out, and try to assistant them.  Let's be real, we are ALL guilty of stopping in the middle of the street at times to talk to our friend, even though WE KNOW  BETTER!  These frustrated visitors simply need a little guidance.
4)  When sitting  at the boat  terminals or even on the boats, if you see visitors staring at brochures or rack cards, go up, introduce yourself, let them know you live on Catalina, and would be happy to answer any questions/concerns they might have.  THEY WILL LOVE YOU!
5)  If you deal directly with the public, familiarize yourself with the high points of Catalina's history, main locations, restrooms, what is showing at the theatre, what special concerts/programs are occurring that day/weekend, etc.  If in doubt, PLEASE send them to the "Chamber of Commerce" office at the foot of the Green Pier/Pleasure Pier.  THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE THERE FOR!
6)  If you see visitors attempting to take pictures/selfies, volunteer to take the pictures for them.  When they proudly show off these images of Catalina and themselves when they return home, they can't help but remember that a "local" took the time to save these memories for them!
Remember, unfortunately, I am no longer at the Mole proudly representing Catalina, so we ALL have to pick up the slack whenever/however we can!
7)  Seeing someone with on open map, staring at their mobile phone, and/or looking at street signs is a pretty good indication that they need directions.  Go up and offer them assistance.  Even if they don't really need it, THEY WILL APPRECIATE YOUR CONCERN. 
If you have missed any of my columns, thanks to Rocky Wall, I would LOVE to get any direct feedback,