Deerhurst employee gets boat after TV appearance
Cairns says his dream is to sail
DREAM COME TRUE:
Deerhurst employee Billy Cairns, left, celebrates with Skyline International Development CEO Michael Sneyd at the unveiling of Barbara, a sailboat Deerhurst has made available for Cairns’ personal use in recognition of his dedication to the resort.
HUNTSVILLE – A sailboat means freedom for Billy Cairns.
Cairns, a 24-year employee of Deerhurst Resort who works the night maintenance shift, was honoured for his dedication to the resort as well as his family on June 22 with a blue-and-white sailboat named after his wife, Barbara.
And it was Michael Sneyd, CEO of Deerhurst’s parent company Skyline International Development Inc., who decided Cairns should have a boat reserved for his use.
Sneyd had gone undercover as an employee-in-training as part of the television show Undercover Boss Canada. The show had Sneyd learning how to serve in the resort’s Eclipse restaurant with Diane Crustolo, carrying out stable duties with stable manager Shani Ride, and working the night maintenance shift with Cairns.
The show also featured employees at Horseshoe Resort, another Skyline property.
“It’s a celebration of the staff and it’s the staff members who really are the ones who make the show. I was really the guy to enable them to show all of the talents people like Billy, Diane and Shani have,” said Sneyd.
A crowd of about 30 staff, family members and media attended the boat unveiling at the Deerhurst dock last week.
Sneyd said he had to be in disguise for the show because he was playing the part of an out of work, middle-aged man looking to be retrained for employment.
“Ideally, the disguise should be so effective that staff feel comfortable with me and start revealing ideas they have to improve the company,” said Sneyd.
As part of the show, the undercover boss reveals his identity to staff at the end of the week and traditionally hands out rewards – and sometimes punishments – to staff members.
Sneyd awarded promotions and getaways to Crustolo and Ride after the show, but the undercover boss said it was Cairns who pulled at his heartstrings most.
Sneyd’s first undercover task was to work with Cairns, a maintenance engineer who charms guests and colleagues, during the nightshift.
“He channels all of his good nature into his work and his customer service. It’s a revelation to me and we have to teach all of our staff to be able to do that,” said Sneyd.
Sneyd said experiences such as working with Cairns showed him the importance of recognizing employees’ efforts and promoting excellence in customer service throughout the resort.
During filming Sneyd asked Cairns why he works the night shift, and Cairns explained he had needed to care for his parents and ailing wife during the day. But then he quietly told Sneyd that his wife, Barbara, had died.
Cairns also shared his dream of having a sailboat. Touched by Cairns’ dedication to family and to Deerhurst Resort, Sneyd decided it was time Billy got a boat to sail on the waters of Peninsula Lake, where the resort is located.
Cairns was grinning from ear to ear when presented with the sailboat and a dedicated boat slip at the Deerhurst dock. He managed to say, “I can’t believe this is happening.”
As he climbed onto the boat for the first time someone asked where his first stop would be.
Cairns had no particular destination in mind and said, “As long as I can push it off the dock, I’m happy.”
He later explained he used to build boats before he moved to Canada and loved the feeling of working on a sailboat in strong winds. He moved to Canada to build sailboats, but when he fell in love, got married and had children his plans changed.
Now, though, his life had come full circle, he said.
“When the wind blows, I’ll be out on that lake unwinding and relaxing,” said Cairns. “That is my vessel of freedom. It’s just incredible. I can’t believe it.”
He said he is looking forward to getting out on the lake and taking his family with him.
Cairns said he had never heard of Undercover Boss Canada and was completely blown away when management presented him with a company-owned boat for his personal use.
And he said it was a very satisfying feeling to be recognized by the company for the work he does. But he added working at the resort was like working with family and he always feels appreciated.
The episode was seen by 75,000 viewers in Canada and the series is being syndicated in the United States and United Kingdom.