Nominate a Music City Hitmaker
You don't have to be a star to receive star treatment in Nashville. If someone put you center stage during your visit, please nominate them for a Music City Hitmaker award. Maybe a server or taxi driver went above and beyond. Perhaps someone at the hotel gave you a hot tip on a cool thing to do. Or someone helped you find that perfect gift for your loved one back home. Bank tellers, hotel workers, servers, police officers, bartenders and valets all work hard to make sure your visit tops the charts. This is your chance to say "Thank You."
One Music City Hitmaker will be awarded each month. And you can win, too! Just by nominating, you're entered into a drawing to win a return trip to Nashville - to experience our Southern hospitality all over again!
We want to recognize those special people that made your trip truly unforgettable.
Past Hitmakers and their Stories
Kevin House, Hard Rock Cafe Nashville
Kevin impressed CMA Fest visitors from Rochester, N.Y. for going above and beyond in assisting one of their group members in a wheelchair. He helped call an Uber for them, and when the driver parked too far for their friend in a wheelchair, he directed the driver through heavy CMA-related street traffic to park closer. They called it “Southern hospitality at its finest.”
Antwain Stallworth, Clarion Nashville Downtown
Antwain was recognized by a Wisconsin couple for his “upbeat attitude and friendly smile.” The visitors were expecting a medical package delivery the entire week they were in Nashville, and Antwain was always there to check on it for them. When it finally arrived three days late, he personally delivered it to their room. They called him “genuinely awesome.”
Read NewsChannel 5's story about Antwain.
Helen Leblanc, CarMax Rivergate
Helen may not be in the hospitality industry, but we’d sure love to have her. A Texas visitor went to CarMax for a car repair and to pick up a rental, and Helen went above and beyond. Helen’s sense of humor helped put the stressed-out visitor at ease, and the visitor said Helen gave her amazing restaurant and hotel suggestions. “You don’t get customer service like that in Texas … you just don’t!” said the visitor from the Lone Star State.
Brian Holwerda, Omni Nashville Hotel
It appears that Brian loves being the friendliest face at the Omni as much as his beloved Oakland A’s. A couple who had newly moved to Nashville from San Diego said they had toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and decided to take a rest in the lobby of the Omni. That’s where they met Brian. At first they thought they were in trouble and might get kicked out – but it turns out Brian approached them after noticing the Oakland A’s gear they were wearing. Like them, Brian had moved to Nashville from San Diego and gave them tips on places to explore in Nashville. He also surprised them with a voucher for a free breakfast at Kitchen Notes. The guests said, “Brian is the epitome of hospitality and definitely deserves to be recognized.” Watch Brian's story, from NewsChannel 5.
Tonya Johnson, Gray Line of Tennessee
Tonya helped a Canadian visitor live his dream while he was in Tennessee. Gerry, who has an intellectual disability, said, “I live on a disability pension and have to stick to a budget.” He said that Tonya “told me a bunch of things to see and do and places to shop and how to save money.” Gerry said Tonya helped him use a discount code to buy tickets to a Predators game and helped him on tours of the Grand Ole Opry, Johnny Cash Museum, Patsy Cline Museum and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. And when she drove him on a day trip out of town, he said, “She was checking on me to see if I needed any help, if I was having a good time, and she answered any question that I had.” Gerry is a big Elvis Presley fan, and he loves the song “That’s Alright Mama.” Gerry said Tonya is now his special friend, and he will always remember her as his “Southern Mama.”
Tara Rockwood, Hilton Garden Inn Downtown
Tara is getting kudos for helping an elderly guest who took a bad fall outside of Bridgestone Arena during the CMA Awards. Tara accompanied the guest to the hospital and stayed by their side until they were able to get in touch with someone from the guest’s bus tour. And that was at 2am! Tara went above and beyond to make sure the guest was taken care of and comfortable.
Charles Childress, Kimpton Aertson Hotel
Charles helped out a guest who was having a bad day - made worse because she did not have a particular type of hair gel she needed. On his own time, using his own car and spending his own money, Charles went to four different stores before finding the exact product she needed. "Overall, he spent at least an hour or two trying to solve my hair gel issue," the guest said. "More so, his sunny disposition and warm conversation made me feel at home and so very well cared for." She called Charles a "gem," "a huge asset" and a "genuinely good man."
Tommy Lynch, Westin Nashville
Tommy made an impression on a Georgia family who had a member in a wheelchair. He went out of his way to store things from their car so they could fit the folded wheelchair in it. The guests said, "He was gracious, kind, patient, and considerate despite the fact that we were confused and kept forgetting things." They were surprised to learn that he was familiar with how to fold and unfold the wheelchair because he too had used one. A year ago, Tommy had been involved in a head-on collision and broke both legs, an arm, and had to be resuscitated twice. The visitors said, "For someone to go through something so difficult and continue to smile and service others without complaint, he should get an award."
Tonya Johnson, Gray Line
Tonya was a great guide on a trolley tour that an elderly couple from Ohio rode. But Tonya really went above and beyond after the tour was over. She overheard the couple say they had to walk a mile back across the bridge to Nissan Stadium, where their car was parked. It was a sweltering 91 degrees, and they were in their 70s. The visitors said, “She offered to give us a ride. Not only did she get us to the area of our car, she came looking for us to make sure we found it.” They said they’ll be back to Nashville and can’t wait to ride with Tonya again.
Gloria Spratling, Monell’s Restaurant
Gloria came to the rescue of a drenched Virginia Beach visitor, who got caught in a rain storm and ducked into Monell’s to escape dangerous lightning and pellets of rain. The visitor didn’t plan to eat at the restaurant. Nonetheless, Gloria welcomed her with warm towels and a cup of hot coffee. “She was truly an angel, and I cannot think of a better ambassador of Music City’s gracious spirit,” the visitor said.
Mike Couturier, 417 Union
“My wife and I were heading to a well-known hotspot for breakfast the first morning in Nashville when we asked an employee at our hotel the best way to get there. He told us the food was good where we were going but he strongly recommended that we try 417 Union for breakfast. The next morning that is exactly what we did. We met Mike, who was tremendous. We got the chicken & waffles along with the lemon/blueberry pancakes and the food was great. We chatted with Mike, and when we were done we told him we would be back. Our last morning in Nashville before heading to the airport we returned to 417 Union and Mike welcomed us. He helped us with our luggage (as we were going to take the airport bus) and Mike chatted with us about our visit to Nashville. As we got close to finishing Mike said, 'Now the last time you were here did you hear me tell the table next to you I was giving them a 10% discount?' We said no, and Mike said, 'Well good because I am giving you a 15% discount.' Both my wife and I looked at each other just shocked, we were literally blown away. We have eaten through-out the world and NEVER have we been offered a discount in any restaurant without having a coupon, voucher or mentioning a promotion we read or heard about. Yes, we were truly amazed by the friendship we made with Mike and his unexpected generosity. Mike's eagerness to welcome all customers while taking the time to chat with them and making them feel so welcome: such a delightful infectious 'what a wonderful day' attitude. Mike is definitely the epitome of a true Southern Gentleman and a Nashville Gem!” - Bob from Park City, UT
Nolan Pittman, Sheraton Music City
“Nolan made our day by being extremely friendly, helpful and welcoming. He had a busy schedule as the Sheraton Music City’s shuttle driver but was pleasant and welcoming to my wife and I on the way to the hotel from the airport. We talked to Nolan every time we saw him and he always had great recommendations for restaurants, shops and Nashville neighborhoods. To top everything off, he sent us a poster from the show we saw at the Ryman because he remembered how much we loved the band. Nolan made our trip infinitely better.” - Jacob from Maplewood, NJ. Watch Nolan's story, from NewsChannel 5.
Raheem Holt, Thompson Nashville
“We had just finished breakfast near the Thompson when we found out we had a dead battery in our parking deck. We asked a handful of people if they had jumper cables and after about 30 minutes of searching, Raheem volunteered and said he had cables. He left his job and drove his car to the parking lot where our truck was stranded. It was a quick and easy jump, but what made our day was the way he was so eager to help and always kept a smile on his face, like we weren't a bother at all. We were very happy we ran into him, not only because he helped us, but because of his kind words and happy spirit. We ran into him later that night at another hotel while asking for directions to a nearby tourist spot. Again, he stopped what he was doing to help us find our way. Thanks Raheem.” – Trishia from Braselton, GA
Shaquise Green, Quality Inn Downtown Nashville
“I am a wine importer and was in Nashville on a five-day tour with a number of wineries that we represent. It was brutal schedule and by the time we got to Nashville we were exhausted. Normally on these trips the wine we use for samples is sent in advance but sometimes new vintages come in last minute and they have to be checked in our luggage. That was the case on my trip to Nashville and one of the four bottles of red wine in my bag didn’t make in one piece. When I was finally able to open my bag everything inside was drenched and red and covered in glass. Needless to say I entered the hotel a little stressed out. I was kindly greeted by Shaquise. I asked her if the hotel had a laundry service, they didn’t but she offered to let me use the hotel’s laundry room. After picking shards of glass out of my bag I head down to do laundry. I then realize I only have 30 minutes to get to my next meeting and realize I’ll be finishing up laundry at midnight and will have to just sleep on my early morning flight. On the way back to my room I pass Shaquise and I’m carrying wet clothes. She says she will take care of them. I warn her about the glass chards and she says not to worry, even asking about wash temps, etc. When I return from my event around midnight I was informed she was gone for the day. I got to my room and found all of my things clean, pressed and folded with a nice note explaining that she chose to hang dry my sweaters so they wouldn’t shrink and wishing me the best on my future travels. I was stunned by the kindness, empathy and incredible hospitality I was shown. The Quality Inn Downtown was great but Shaquise made it exceptional.” - Christian from New York City
Jay McDowell, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
Jay impressed visitors from Massachusetts when he helped them track down a missing cell phone. They lost it during a day of sightseeing, and when they called Jay at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, he suggested they call the phone number and maybe someone will pick up. When they did, they found out they left it at a restaurant. The tourists didn’t have a car, so Jay retrieved the lost phone for them. The visitors said, “We tried to reward Jay, but he would not accept any money. We wanted to show our gratitude in some way, so we decided to make a donation to the Museum for Jay’s kindness.” Watch Jay's story, from NewsChannel 5.
Terry Cherry, Gray Line of Tennessee
Terry came to the rescue of some Lexington, Kentucky tourists who had been wandering around downtown looking for the right sightseeing bus they had purchased with a Groupon. They had redeemed the Groupon with the wrong bus company, so they were confused about where to catch their next stop. The visitor said, “After walking downtown for three hours trying to find a bus stop, almost in tears, we flagged down Terry’s Gray Line bus.” Terry saved the day by giving them a tour and making sure they had tickets for the Music City Hop tour the entirety of their vacation. The visitor said, “He took the one thing that was making our trip awful and turned it into a rainbow.”
Shelly Amberge, The Inn at Opryland
When an illness almost derails having a nice visit in Music City, Shelly is the person who can help you get back on track. An Arkansas visitor said she arrived at The Inn at Opryland with a sick daughter, who had a fever, aches, and pain. They asked to be moved from an outside entry room to an inside entry room so it would be warmer and quieter. Shelly was working the desk and helped them get upgraded at no extra cost. And when the guest realized her daughter was too sick to attend the show at the Grand Ole Opry that night, she offered the tickets to Shelly. Without even being asked, Shelly got the tickets changed – and the visitors planned a future trip to Nashville to enjoy the Opry show.
Jason McGrath, Gaylord Opryland/The Inn at Opryland
Jason has been consistently nominated by guests who appreciate how willing he is to go above and beyond to help. One guest from Washington state said when her hotel reservations were altered without her knowledge, “Jason was extremely efficient and helped to accommodate us with a room at Gaylord Opryland. He deserves the highest praise and recognition for his outstanding customer service. He’s the best.” Jason is also being recognized for helping arrange transportation, access to attractions, and even tickets to a sold-out show at the Ryman for a visitor from Michigan. They said, “Jason made the impossible possible and created a memorable experience for our anniversary vacation. His personality and warm, friendly customer service was perfect. Don’t lose him; he is a valuable asset to your company.”
Jessie Morgan, Joyride Nashville
Jessie was a popular Hitmaker nominee with several of his customers. Roxy from North Hollywood, Calif., called Jessie “The best thing that happened on our trip.” A group from Illinois credited Jessie for reuniting their travel party when they ended up at two different locations of the Tin Roof. “His enthusiasm for the town and all it has to offer quickly made Jesse our go-to guy for the weekend,” they said. “Jessie made unbelievable suggestions as to where to see some amazing talent.” He rescued one of their phones when it was left behind and turned down the offer of a reward. Jessie, they said, “is a true asset.”
Billy Corr, The Standard at The Smith House
Billy is being recognized for saving the day to make a birthday celebration special and then saving the day again when a credit card got left behind. Chuck from Lancaster, Penn., said Billy helped make his wife’s 50th birthday celebration memorable with a cake, decorations, and a special dining area. “Billy was a fantastic host,” Chuck said. The next day, when Chuck realized he had left his credit card behind, he said, “I called, only to realize they were closed. Not only did Billy pick up my message within minutes, he called back, stated that he would drive to the restaurant - which would take 20 minutes - then bring the card to our hotel.” Chuck goes on to praise Billy for “Amazing, unprompted commitment!”
Nolan Pittman, Sheraton Music City
Nolan has been nominated more than 25 times this past year, and several guests have shared stories of how Nolan’s hospitality made the difference between a good trip and a great one. A visitor from Ohio in town to attend a John Prine concert said Nolan steered them to several places with great bluegrass after he learned they loved the genre. “My wife and I felt like the most important two people in the hotel,” the visitor said. “Each time we saw him he greeted us by name.” They added, “We will certainly make Nashville a frequent travel destination.”
Andrea Wright, Hotel Indigo Nashville
Andrea came to the rescue of visitors from the UK, when the transportation arrangements they made to go to the Grand Ole Opry fell through. “She was quick to hail a taxi and even rang the bus company we booked for our ride and was able to secure a full refund for our trouble,” they said. “Way beyond the call of duty. She was so helpful throughout our stay; nothing is too much trouble for her.”
Wilson Robles, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
Wilson is being recognized for helping an Alabama family after their five-year-old daughter scraped her foot at the hotel swimming pool. The guests said, “Having no first aid equipment, we asked for some at the front desk. Wilson came along with the paramedic. We felt silly for calling in such a minor thing, but he assured us that it was fine.” Later, when they ran into Wilson again, he bought ice cream to cheer her up. They said, “We assumed it was complimentary from the resort, but realized he was paying for it out of his own pocket. What a blessing to meet such a kind and generous man. Character of this kind cannot be taught or trained. We plan to pay it forward in honor of Wilson!”
Andrew Thompson, DoubleTree Nashville Downtown
Andrew is what we call a repeat offender. He has been nominated numerous times as a Hitmaker from guests visiting multiple businesses around town. He is a long-time hospitality industry employee, and we are lucky to have him greeting our guests. Here’s what a few of them had to say. A guest from the U.K. said, “Andrew made suggestions and planned our trip like it was for himself. Later, we saw him in the lobby and he asked about our trip and asked for feedback. Overall, we received first class service and personal attention. We would strongly recommend Andrew to anyone.” And a visitor from Kansas said, “Andrew went above and beyond to help us plan each day in Nashville. He helped with tickets and gave us transportation information. All of his suggestions turned out to be excellent.”
Victoria Berkey, Avis at the Nashville Airport
Victoria came to the rescue of a Virginia visitor who had just landed in Nashville for a business trip and realized her driver’s license was missing when she checked in at Avis to pick up her car rental. Victoria was the manager on duty and stayed late to help the visitor, going so far as to offer to drive her to her destination in Clarksville, TN herself. Victoria enlisted the help of Airport Police, and they ended up being able to validate the visitor had a driver’s license so that she could rent a car. All this happened after Victoria’s shift had ended. The visitor said, “She clearly went above and beyond … I’m so grateful for her hospitality.”
Joe Mack Treas, Hilton Nashville Downtown
A visitor from Seymour, Tenn., made a last-minute trip to Nashville to meet street artist Kelsey Montague, who was painting a large-scale mural in the Gulch – and was in a hurry to get here before the artist left that very day. In her words, “I called Joe Mack and explained my mission.” When she got here, he had a cab waiting for her and Kelsey’s schedule. The visitor got to have her picture taken with the street artist and her mural, and, to quote her, “My dream came true because of Joe Mack Treas.”
Kristi Llamas, Anchor Transportation
Kristi drove a bus that included a West Virginia visitor in town for a work seminar. The visitor also happened to be a breastfeeding mother. She didn’t have a cooler with her to transport the milk home to her baby and was upset it would be wasted. Kristi learned about this and, according to the visitor, “Went on her own to buy me a cooler. She spent her own time and money to make my trip better. I hope she is recognized for her act of kindness.”
Todd Gasaway, TDOT HELP Trucks
A visitor of Trimble, TN was staying at the Airport Holiday Inn before an early morning flight to the Grand Cayman Islands. The night before her flight, her car broke down on Interstate 40, and she happened to pull off the side of the road behind a green highway assistance truck. The self-described 67-year-old widow said, “To say I was panicked would be an understatement.” Todd eased her fright – arranging to have her vehicle towed and driving her himself to her hotel. Todd went back to her vehicle and helped arrange to have her car towed to a service station. “Todd was my angel that night who made everything OK, and I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart.”
Gary Jamison, Vanderbilt Courtyard Marriott
Members of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission meet at the Vanderbilt Courtyard once a month. They said that Gary “knows us by name and greets us with a friendly and warm welcome.” Even more impressive -- Gary has even come in on his days off to make sure they are checked in properly, their rooms are satisfactory and their shuttles run on time. Even on his days off, Gary “makes their day.”
Emily Kynerd, Paper Source
Emily was known for being helpful and friendly at Paper Source, a local craft and stationary shop. When a customer left her favorite umbrella at the store, Emily chased her for more than three blocks to return it to her. “I had ear buds in and could not hear her calling for me.” The customer said that Emily exemplifies the hospitable spirit of Nashville.
Jason McGrath, Gaylord Opryland Resort
Visitors from Kansas had trouble getting tickets to the Grand Ole Opry during their stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. That is, until they met Jason McGrath. They said, “You would have thought he was trying to get tickets for his best friend, not two women he had just met. He had an outstanding personality.” Sure enough, Jason got them tickets. They said, “We thought the story ended there with a happy ending. … He called and said he had gotten us better seats. And two nights later we tried again for tickets. Part of the fun of our trip was working with Jason. He was successful in getting us all the tickets.” The visitors were thrilled they got wonderful seats; but they were even more touched by how humble Jason was throughout the whole experience.
You would expect any hotel to provide toothpaste and a toothbrush if you forget yours at home. But cuff links? Such was the case for a guest from Cleveland, Ohio. “I needed them to complete my suit for the day. Kevin went out to his car and found his grandfather’s cuff links and let me borrow them.” The guest said this level of kindness was unexpected.
Alex Quintulen, Hilton Brentwood/Nashville Suites
Visitors to the Hilton Brentwood had trouble with their rental car and asked a maintenance worker for duct tape. The visitor said, “He not only offered me duct tape, he also offered to help me fix the safety concern and in true maintenance man fashion, investigated the cause of the issue and attempted to fix it even better than new.” The maintenance worker spent 45 minutes in the dark and on the ground underneath the vehicle to help this visitor out. It was more than this visitor said they ever expected or would ask for.
Steve Parker, Yellow Cab
When you’re in the hospitality industry in Nashville, you never know who your next customer might be. That’s why we love to hear stories, like this one, about a cab driver who treats every single customer like a VIP. A guest said her cab driver was very kind and knowledgeable. She took lots of notes on the many suggestions he offered on attractions and restaurants. Meanwhile, Steve had no idea his passenger was the executive director of marketing for Southern Living and was in town to meet with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp about a yearlong marketing program. That cab ride went a long way in helping the city make a good impression on the executive and Southern Living.
**Hitmaker of the Year** August 2015
April Turner, iRide of Nashville
When April Turner gives iRide Segway tours, she gives a safety lesson first. Even so, an Alabama visitor found herself “head first going over my Segway face first into the sidewalk. April was quick to respond and get the other three riders to safety and stayed on the ground with me until the ambulance arrived and loaded me up.” The guest went on to say, “My best friend doesn’t drive in large towns. April went with my best friend and our daughters and drove my car to the hospital and met us there.” But that’s not all. April offered her house to them so they could shower and change before heading out to a concert. “Who offers for complete strangers to come to their house?!”
Marques Tabb, Renaissance Hotel
Nobody likes a flat tire, especially when they are in a faraway city and about to start their trip back home. When this happened to a Kentucky visitor, an employee at the Renaissance Hotel contacted his father and volunteered his AAA membership to assist the visitor. “I’m not sure how many people would have taken care of a complete stranger in the way Marques took care of us.” The guest said he will never forget the kindness shown by Marques.
Kenneth Hadley, Renaissance Hotel
When an Illinois visitor’s phone was stolen and she became separated from her group during the CMA Music Fest, she found herself at the Renaissance Hotel hoping to stay the night and regroup in the morning. But then she ran into more trouble. She said, “My debit card refused to work. Instead of kicking me back out in the street, Mr. Hadley paid for the rest of the room out of his own pocket.” As she put it, Mr. Hadley was a true hero.
Andrew Thompson, Gray Line of Tennessee
When visitors are on a Gray Line tour with Andrew Thompson, they know they are in for a fun and informative ride through Music City – complete with jokes and lots of great recommendations. A North Carolina visitor said, “You can tell he loves this city and his job and that makes all the difference! He went out of his way to accommodate the group. I’ve never been on a better tour.” They said it was clear Andrew enjoys his job of helping visitors fall in love with Nashville.
Marshall Rodgers, Renaissance Hotel
When a visitor from Falls Church, Virginia left her anti-cancer medication at home, she had her insurance company send it directly to the Renaissance Hotel where she was staying. All was well, until they kept sending it there even after she returned to Virginia. The guest told the hotel, “For whatever reason, they seem to want to keep using your address.” That’s when the shipping and receiving clerk at the Renaissance stepped in to help, and quoting, “He offered to reship it himself to my home in Virginia! … It is refreshing to know such caring and genuine men like that still exist.” She called him a true treasure.