Pineapples have represented hospitality since the days of the early American colonies. The legend of the pineapple began long ago with the sea captains of New England. They would set sail around the Caribbean Islands returning to the colonies with fruits, spices and rum. According to this legend, upon returning the captain would spear a pineapple on a fence post outside his home to let friends and family know of his safe return from sea. This was an invitation for all to stop by and say hello, join him for food and drink, and listen while he shared stories of his journey.

The legend of the pineapple continues today.

Before graduating with a degree in Tourism Management at the University of Southern Mississippi, a small ceremony was held for the students to recognize their achievements. At the ceremony, every student received a small pewter pineapple pin to wear on there lapel to remind them of their commitment to hospitality. Proudly wearing their pins, these students walked across the stage to receive their degree and then went out into the world to make a difference. They understand that working in the service industry, their first duty is to take the time and put forth the effort that demonstrates their commitment to make people feel welcomed and valued.

Last month while on vacation in Antigua, we noticed that the pineapple symbol was everywhere around our hotel. It was carved into banisters, painted on pictures, and even imprinted on the napkins. And it is not because the pineapple is the national fruit of Antigua. (Although everyone there is quick to let you know that their black pineapple is the sweetest pineapple you will ever eat!) No, the reason that the pineapple’s image is everywhere is because it serves as a constant reminder of hospitality first.

Hospitality and excellent customer service are core values in the service industry. These are the values that exemplify what matters most to all of us…People.

People should always be our first priority. Taking care of our team, our  patients, and even ourselves is the most important thing we do.

To this day when someone sees a pineapple symbol at any service provider it is a sign of hospitality. Do your part to honor the legend of the pineapple!

Stand Tall, Be Sweet, Welcome Everyone!