October 16, 2000
Mr. Woodin goes to Woodinville
by Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Reporter
Mr. Woodin visited Woodinville and ate at Wood'ys. It sounds like a tongue-twisting riddle or fairy tale. But it's not. It's a true story with a happy ending.
Once upon a time, last February actually, John Woodin was at his home in Canberra, Australia.
He was planning a trip to Canada and discovered the city of Woodinville on the Internet by accident.
He was looking at Seattle as a stopover point as he wanted to catch the ferry to Vancouver Island.
When the map of Washington glowed on his computer screen, he couldn't believe his eyes.
There, just northeast of Seattle, was a city that shared his surname, a "soul-city"of sorts, called Woodinville.
The name of Woodin is rare in Australia, and Woodin's wife, who doesn't travel well, suggested he and his son visit the city of their namesake.
Through the Internet, Woodin learned of Woodinville's Red Barn Country Inn and booked a room for a brief time in June.
During their stay, they visited the Gold Creek Sports Club, Barnes and Noble, the Cineplex and the Woodinville Weekly.
They were impressed that Woodinville was a very modern, clean city with a rural feeling.
For dinner one evening, Woodin and his son stopped at Wood'ys for a bite to eat.
'Woody' is a nickname the Woodins are fondly called by friends and so it was another amusing coincidence.
The meal was charged to Woodin's credit card, and after returning home to Australia, Woodin received his Visa card bill. He was amazed when he read the statement.
The $33 charge for his dinner at Wood'ys had been doubled, and now he owed $66.
He could only conclude an error had been made‹or that the City of Woodinville has an odd, but lucrative, custom of doubling the total before charging a credit card.
Woodin attempted to contact Wood'ys but had difficulty reaching the manager. This, in part, was due to the changeover of ownership.
At a loss, Woodin contacted the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce through e-mail. From there, he located the City of Woodiville's Communications Coordinator, Marie Stake, through a directory on the web.
Stake was glad to help. At City Hall she wears numerous hats, as her job entails public information and community relations.
Regarding city matters, Stake often speaks to the press or writes press releases. She records messages on the City's 24-hour radio station and is the City's Assistant Director of Emergency Management. Add to this her service on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce.
Even so, she finds time to handle unique incidents that need attention, such as Woodin's plight.
But‹she said, "This was my first out-of-the-ordinary incident."
From her desk at City Hall, Stake shot an e-mail to Australia: "I would be happy to serve as your advocate and will contact Wood'ys restaurant."
Meanwhile, Wood'ys has a new owner, Allen Camp, and a new manager, Bill Camp.
"I felt terrible about it," Allen Camp said. "We wanted to give anybody visiting the town of Woodinville a good impression."
And though Allen Camp hadn't owned the restaurant at the time of Woodin's visit and had nothing to do with the overcharge, he sent a refund to Woodin.
Back at City Hall, Stake e-mailed Woodin a second time: "Mr. Bill Camp, the new manager of Wood'ys contacted me.
"He verified the error that occurred under previous management and staff. He sends his regrets and wants you to know the refund is forthcoming."
Woodin returned several e-mails to Stake expressing his gratitude for her help in the matter.
In one, he wrote: "Marie! Many thanks and I hope maybe I will get back to Woodinville; nevertheless it was a buzz to visit."
And the moral of the story? Good people live and work in Woodinville. The end.