A little kindness goes a long way… and last week I had a front row seat experiencing this myself. As you already know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, I travel quite a bit and most of my travels are to southern Indiana. Depending on when I make my reservations, I switch between two different properties. For years I have been a Marriott kind of guy, and have enjoyed being afforded some of the benefits reserved for those who are road warriors. But this year, knowing that my travels would be diminishing and that Hilton offers a better deal to reach elevated travel status, I decided to check out one of the Hilton properties that Janet and I are familiar with from our travels to Williamsburg – a Garden Inn.
We are always treated with respect and for some reason, people have always been incredibly friendly whenever we stay at this chain of hotels. So I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that there was a Garden Inn near where I work when I am down in southern Indiana.
Last week, I was at the Marriott property, a Courtyard where I have spent a number of nights, and Janet, who knows me so well, keeps asking why I stay there when the Garden Inn is around the corner. She has a point, but I have been trying to keep my Marriott status for another year and some of my co-workers stay there. Last week, I finally had my fill. The reservation people weren’t very pleasant and whenever I left or entered the property, nobody so much as said “hello.” Perhaps if this had been the first time, I may have been a little more tolerant. But this has become a habitual way that I have been treated most of the times I stay there. Especially when I spent time on the road, it can get a little lonely and having friendly people at the hotel is always appreciated. I even tried to order something and have it delivered to the room – I was told they didn’t do that… I would have to come down from the room and pick up my own snack – even though they say they will help in any way possible. Really?
The doors in the hall slam shut and when you are trying to sleep the noise can be really disturbing. I have always been well treated by Marriott, but for some reason, in this location, I just don’t feel the love… So, as I tried to get breakfast and was told that there would be a twenty minute wait to get an egg, I got fed up and left without eating. On my way to the office, I drove past the Hilton property and decided to go in and see, if by chance, they would allow me to buy breakfast there even though I hadn’t spent the night.
I went in, up to the desk clerk, James, who knows me and mentioned something about being willing to crawl across broken glass if they would allow me have breakfast – as a paying customer, of course. James started laughing and then handed me a note to present in the dining area. Breakfast was to be complimentary – that’s right – they wouldn’t take my money. Not only that but they let me know how much they appreciated the times I did stay with them and that they were glad that I stopped by to see everyone.
I couldn’t believe it! They were awesome – like always. Not only did I get to order breakfast before a long day, but Eva, the head cook who has taken me in the kitchen and taught me to make the best omelets you have ever had, personally greeted me. So did Rose and Nicole, two of the regular servers and I even met Beverly, a new server was starting her first day. I found myself welcoming her to the hotel – that’s how comfortable I feel there.
Now before you think that I am really crazy for not staying here all the time, let me say that you are right! Janet has already been letting me know that she thinks I have had a brain lapse when I stay at this particular Courtyard. But the point of tonight’s post is that here are two hotels, managed by the same company and probably owned by the same people, yet the service and ambiance are completely different from each other – a striking testament to the people who work there serving the travel community.
Jesus has high expectations for His followers when it comes to simple kindness. We are told by Paul and others throughout the New Testament that patience and kindness are earmarks of a God centered life. Our verse for this evening is from James 2:12-13, “Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.” That’s great advice for all of us. Certainly, the way the two hotels operated last week gave me a clear view of a small example of what Christ was talking about. The kindness exhibited by one group – as opposed to the behavior of another group – was striking.
My encouragement tonight is that Jesus wants us to give, and receive, kindness. It’s a simple thing yet many of us don’t tend to put ourselves out for others. And the impact to those of us who are on the road really appreciate the small niceties that are offered to us. My prayer is that you will be quick to serve others with kindness and also take a few extra moments to acknowledge the efforts of those who come in contact with us each day. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…