It's rare, and always a pleasure to be able to publish something about an exceptional experience. Croc City, en route to Lanseria airport, is both exceptional and delightful. But it's also a great example of how just one person can make or break a very special day. In this case, Anton Lötter made it - big time!
I wanted an unusual 6th birthday for the little dude in my life. I considered hordes of screaming (and fighting) classmates as an option. The conceptual process was more daunting and stressful than major business decisions! Eventually rationality prevailed and I negotiated a special deal with him. Two very special friends and we spend the entire day with the little man's parents, sibling and me. Kicking off at Croc City and then on to Maropeng in the Cradle of Human Kind. Concept bought - thank goodness!
The very first e-mail contact with Croc City was refreshing. Warm, cordial, quick and welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble. They were very happy to accomodate our tiny party and treat us no differently than if we'd been bringing in a dollop of revenue.
On arrival we were given all the help we needed to schlep our eats from the cars. Two tables were waiting for us. The croc jumping castle was fired up, the staff decanted the eats on to Croc City plates and helped arrange them on the tables.
They'll never forget that Anton Lötter, (pictured, with cap'n shades in the group on the right), a delightful young Afrikaner with deliciously rolling r's) taught them that crocs have 66 teeth - and in a never-ending supply.
That he held two and a half-year old Nkosinathi's hand in a totally unselfconscious way (she took a real shine to him) and led the kids around as if they were his own. This young man just radiated a warmth and hospitality that was a delight to behold. He's a wonderful example of the new South African spirit in action. It wasn't an act, or him playing 'mein host'. This was authentic, congruent, colour-blind African humanism at its best.
Anton allowed the birthday boy to choose a croc tooth as a special memento. Seeing the look on the face of the two buddies, he then upped the birthday boy to two croc teeth and the buddies to one each. Man, does he understand kids!
We spent a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours at Croc City and then moved on to the must-see Maropeng. But the day was made - and we continue to talk about it - by Anton.
Thank you, Anton, you special man, for making a special day very special indeed. You're an enviable role-model!
This whole experience made me feel good about being a South African and living in South Africa.