Keyed Into Hyatt
The Official Blog of Hyatt Hotels & Resorts


January 18, 2013
Hyatt Regency, Memorable Moments, Our People

An Elevator Ride and Military Patch for the American History Books

You never know who you might run into at a Hyatt hotel, and for Earl Smith, an encounter on the job at Hyatt Regency Austin years ago is one he’ll remember forever.

While in the hotel elevator with then Senator Barack Obama, Earl gifted the Senator a military patch he had treasured for 40 years from his uniform during service in Vietnam. Years later, he learned that President Obama still carries that patch with him in his pocket. As Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty reported, the President keeps it as a reminder of people’s hopes and dreams about what can be achieved together.

Read the full inspiring story here: Earl Smith is the man behind a military patch that President Obama prizes.

Earl has been a part of the Hyatt Regency Austin family, overseeing the hotel’s security department, since June 1998. His colleagues aren’t surprised in the slightest that he could leave such a lasting impression on America’s commander-in-chief.

“Earl is the most genuinely sincere and appreciative person I’ve had the pleasure to work with,” said Earl’s supervisor, Rooms Director Jessica Higginbotham. “He’s warm and welcoming to guests and employees alike and takes service to a new level. Earl gives his all to everyone he encounters and has never met a stranger. He sees the good in everyone and his goal, which he succeeds at daily, is to leave wherever he is a little better than he found it.”

On special invitation, Earl is flying from Houston to Washington, D.C. this weekend to witness an important day in American history – the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, which also falls on the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. This honor couldn’t be bestowed on a nicer friend and colleague or a bigger history buff, and we can’t wait hear all about his experience!

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