“Welcome to Catalina, if you have any questions or needs, I’d be happy to help you.” Chances are you’ve heard life-long local Chuck Liddell’s signature greeting if you’ve stepped off any boat at
Catalina’s Cabrillo Mole any time in the past year. He hasn’t been standing at Dock-5 next to the visitor information sign for long, but since March of 2014 Chuck has assisted nearly 29,000 island guests with every type of question and request imaginable. That means if one out of every ten people he greets asks him a question, Chuck has smiled his friendly smile to almost 290,000 visitors since last year. For many, this interaction is one of a kind, and one of the most memorable at that.
Think about it, what other city in the entire United States has a personal community greeter who can literally tell you anything you could ask about the town? That goes for every type of question as well, from something as simple as “Where can I rent a golf cart” to as operational as “Where do you get your power?” There are even the far fetched questions, for example, “Is the island surrounded by water” (derp, aren’t they all?). But no matter how complex or how straight forward the answer, Chuck addresses every one the same: with a smile, a helpful response, and a
point in the right direction.
Chuck truly cares about more than just providing visitor information. He is so attentive to the people he interacts with, one time he even provided an extremely busy woman from Utah with a detailed map to help her finish all her tasks in time for her to take her socks off and enjoy the ocean water for the first time. Chuck nearly teared up at the reminiscence of that day. The best part about what Chuck does for the community is that nobody really makes him do what he does. He is simply a considerate local who wants to help the community as much as the visitors it welcomes. He doesn’t do it for the credit, or the money, or for the spotlight, he purely does it just to show that somebody cares. From your very first step onto the brick pathway into town, he lets you know someone is there to help you have the most enjoyable stay possible, no matter how long or short your vacation may be. He allows local businesses to focus on their business, and keeps visitors from
having to ask all around town just to find their hotel or the best activity for their respective groups.
Whether you’ve past Chuck on your walk to town or have yet to take your first step onto the Mole, he is there to assist you, and to always help you “have a great stay in Catalina.”
Story credit: Chis Puma, Catalina Island Marketing
Photo credit: Drew Mauck, CatalinaPhotographer.com