My wife and I recently traveled to Ukraine to adopt our newest son.  We just returned home from that trip and it was truly incredible.  The adoption experience was amazing and we’re thrilled to have our newest little guy home with us.  And the trip to Ukraine was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I’ve never traveled in Europe prior to this trip, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but it all worked out quite well.  We started in Kiev and ultimately traveled to Zaporizhia, which is in south-central Ukraine.

Of course, traveling in November and December in Ukraine brings its own challenges, not the least of which is: cold temps, snow, wind and rain.  Living in North Carolina, we’re not exactly strangers to snow and cold (my wife and I went to college at Appalachian State where there’s always plenty of “winter” from October to April!), but we weren’t certain that we had the right gear for the conditions we might find in Ukraine.  So, we turned to Lands’ End to help us out.  My wife purchased a durable (and perhaps even more important—very stylish) winter coat as well as a great pair of boots that would keep her feet both warm AND dry.  My wife was very smart in her purchases (like she always is!)—she got them at the end of last winter and had them well in advance of our trip.  I, on the other hand, made my purchases about a week before our trip (to be fair, we only found out for certain that we would be making the trip a mere two weeks before our departure date, so it was kind of a “hurry up” scenario!).

I placed an order on LandsEnd.com for a pair of corduroy pants and a pair of lightweight, waterproof/snow-ready hiking boots.  At the time of checkout , I was presented with an option of overnight shipping or standard shipping.  Standard shipping said that the items would arrive within 4-7 days.  I thought—“hey, that will be plenty of time before we leave!”  Well, two days before we were to leave for Ukraine, panic set in as the items hadn’t yet arrived.  I had visions of my wife being snug and warm on our Ukrainian journey while I was constantly cold and wet!  So, I turned to Twitter to find the account for Lands’ End and see if they could do anything to help.  I sent out a simple message at 12:15 a.m. that read:

@LandsEndChat need help! Traveling to Ukraine on Mon for adoption & my order hasn’t arrived yet. Can you help?

It was a shot in the dark and I knew it, but this is where the great social media team at Lands’ End comes in—they had a response back to me within a few hours.  They directed me to send them the details via e-mail.  Once they had the details, they tracked down what was going on and told me how we “might” be able to get the order before we departed for Ukraine (the answer involved tracking down down my package at the UPS delivery point in North Carolina).  But, it gets even better—they also offered to refund the purchase of the items (which they really didn’t have to do b/c I’m the one that selected “standard shipping”) since it wasn’t going to get to me in time.

Now, I wish this was one of those stories where someone showed up at the door with the package just as we were about to head to the airport, but it isn’t.  Unfortunately, with everything else we had going on, there was no way we could get to the UPS delivery center, so we did the next best thing.  We stopped by the Sears near our house to see if they had the items in stock since Sears carries Lands’ End.  Sure enough, they did and we purchased those items and I was ready for the trip!

I thanked the social media team at Lands’ End for going the extra mile to help us with this situation and let them know that we were very excited to know that, no matter the weather in Ukraine, we would be ready to go with our Lands’ End gear.  And then, they did one more amazing thing—they offered to send us a monogrammed stocking for our newly adopted son, just in time for Christmas.  Wow!!  Again, something that they didn’t have to do, but it really meant a lot to us.

Bottom line—Lands’ End is incredible.  Their clothing and gear is first rate.  But their service is even better!  Thanks, Lands’ End, for making our adoption journey an amazing experience!