Not too long ago, I was being asked several questions about the business for a local magazine that was featuring Chicago Pizza Tours not only as a cool activity to do in town, but also as an interesting business. When we got to the question “What is your proudest moment as a company?”, I was taken aback. It’s something I never thought about before. To be fair my personality tends to be to put my head down and do my work, and I don’t often reflect back at what we’ve accomplished. That’s certainly a flaw, but it is my personality and it takes someone asking me to make me think about it.
I thought about several things that we had done, like being featured on the Price Is Right, or being part of ABC’s 190 North, writing for NBC Chicago’s Business Blog, or featured in Season 1 the show Start-Up that has gone world wide. Those are all great, but I really wanted to find one situation in which not only myself, but my employees got together and sacrificed their time and effort and pulled off something that really affected people positively… and then it struck me!
In the early summer of 2015, I got a call from a guy named Rupert McDowell A.K.A. Butch! Butch is a Vietnam veteran that is in charge of organizing a newsletter and a trip every year pertaining to World War II veterans from the 22nd Bomb Squadron,CBI, 1942-1945. When he explained that to me, I said “I’m sorry it sounded like you said WWII veterans, you meant Vietnam veterans right?”. He responded with “No, I’m a Vietnam veteran, this organization is for WWII veterans from the 22nd Bomb Squadron.”. I almost fell out of my chair, how old were these veterans?!?! (The youngest was 93!) I very quickly composed myself and said “Yes we would love to be part of this, what date, don’t worry about a discount code or signing up, I’m pulling the date off our regular schedule for your group.”
My next step was to contact a couple of guides and a driver regarding that date. I explained who these guests were and what we were going to do for them. Everyone was 100% onboard for working for free that day donating their time, and we would be charging them $0.00 for everything. We helped work with them on organizing a Memorial ceremony at Solider Field midway through the tour and planned our route based on that.
Butch and the team were overjoyed even saying and I quote “Jon, you are truly an angel!! Our memorial services are very important part of our reunions. This year we will be meeting family of three departed veterans. They are coming just to honor their grandfather or father who have died this past year. Soldier Field? That would be so wonderful.” Writing this, I figured I would just go back through our Facebook Page to find the post I put up regarding my proudest moment. Turns out, I must have been so proud of it, I never even shared it. Luckily I keep all my pics on my phone!
Here are the pics of a day that I consider our proudest moment as a company: