As the Director of Outside Happiness (you read that right), Bob “Shoe” Gasper plays the critical role of greeting every visitor who makes the trip to the world famous golf retreat known as Bandon Dunes on the Oregon coast.
Shoe (so nicknamed because he looks like legendary jockey Willie Shoemaker) proves that leadership can be exemplified in the processes and diligence of individuals who simply care.
A retired freight driver, including 20 years on the road for UPS in Los Angeles, Shoe arrives at the golf complex in the early morning hours, often before the moon reaches its zenith. He reviews a list of the day’s guests. He digs, spending time on the internet searching towns and backgrounds, photos and posts, looking for a connection, a way to spark a conversation that will make people feel known and welcome.
When golfers arrive, many far from home, they learn that someone special has taken the time to know who they are. It galvanizes the experience in a way nothing else can. A new friend has been made. One who has taken the time to make a visitor feel seen.
When a golfer returns to the clubhouse, Shoe flags the tee sheet with a photo to remind him of the visit. Shoe is the kind of friend who reviews his notes. Later he may share these photos with the golfer. And take new ones. Anyone would be astonished to know they matter that much. Smiles abound.
Shoe knows secrets. He knows the best place in the world is the place that knows you best.
People like to be known and the leaders and people who take the time to know them are worthy of great admiration. When people return to Bandon Dunes, Shoe remembers them, makes a fuss over remembering them, and shows them that they count. He knows people like to be remembered more than they like just about anything else. Bob Gasper is a relationship genius.