I used to travel extensively for business. There were years that I would spend more than 75 nights in Marriott hotels to achieve Platinum status and also more than 60 nights in Hilton hotels to achieve Diamond status.
Many years ago, when I was just starting out, I hardly travelled at all. In fact, I would say that the first thirty years of our marriage, Janet and I didn’t spend a total of thirty nights apart. Then, in 2005 or so, that all changed.
I was sought after as a writer of curriculum for corporations and I suddenly, after my graduation from seminary, found myself traveling to Cincinnati almost weekly to to work with teams that designed biomedical devices for the American markets.
It was very rewarding work as I started out studying biomedical engineering in college and throughout my career I have rubbed shoulders with the designers of the lunar lander, 747’s, space suits for the exploration of the lunar surface and numerous biomedical devices for surgical procedures.
The classes I taught always ran a minimum of three days so I became very familiar with various brands of hotels and local eateries. At times it was a very lonely experience. I was very organized in almost every aspect of my weekly stays. I knew where my various charging cords were, clothes hung in the closet, TV channel selection and every detail down to making sure that I left a wake-up call for each morning.
I was so disappointed when the major chains went to automated wake-up calls. You had to set you own time for the call and then, in the morning when you answered, you heard this mechanical voice announce the time and some perfunctory statement about having a nice day… It really didn’t start my day off the right way!
I’ve been out of the heavy travel routine for seven or eight years now. Sure, I would run to the Chicago suburbs for a day or two of teaching but I was able to stay with my brother which is far different than being in a hotel. However, the last year the tide is turning a little and I find myself traveling a little here and there for a night or two.
Earlier this week, I travelled to Cleveland to teach on Tuesday morning. I arrived at the hotel Monday evening and went through my normal routine … It was a very upscale hotel and the service was pretty good. They valeted my car, gave me a great room and after having dinner, I retired to my room for the rest of the night.
Old habits die hard and I didn’t see a way to order a wake-up call so I contacted the front desk and they took the 6:00 a.m. request for me. Just to be sure, I asked for a second call at 6:30 a.m. I really didn’t sleep fitfully as I was planning the teaching session over and over in my mind. Finally, I dozed off.
At 6:00, on the dot, my phone rang. It was the proverbial wake-up call. Only something was different. I listened to the welcome and the part about wishing me a nice day. I almost automatically hung up, but at the last moment I realized that I was speaking with a live person. Yep! No automated call – a real person who asked me about my plans for the day, without being intrusive. And he even asked me if I wanted the second call at 6:30 or would I like to cancel it.
To be sure, it was a delightful experience and one that I haven’t had in years. As funny as it may sound, it got my day off to a terrific start. On reflection, it was such a simple thing yet it impacted me in an abnormally positive way. I miss those days decades ago when a human voice was on the other end of the phone. And think about all the robocalls we each get every day – how impersonal, but very efficient.
Anyway, I have been thinking about that experience at the hotel with the wake-up call. Our verse for tonight is a very simple one but oh, so appropriate, for tonight.
The good Dr. Luke reminds us that we are all trying to get along. He tells us, in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
How many times have we all heard those words? In fact, many of the world religions have some version of what we refer to as the “golden rule.” My encouragement is that kindness never goes out of style – and it doesn’t cost anything, either! My prayer is that we will all consider small ways that we can impact others in big ways as we go about our daily business. I know that I certainly received that blessing this week. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…