So a new thing I think I’m going to start writing about more are certain scenarios that happen at work. In October I started working at the front desk of a local Homewood Suites by Hilton and almost everyday encounter different situations that leave me thinking longer than after the moment ends.
The past couple weeks I have not been able to stop thinking about the concept of kindness in regards to how easy it is to show kindness to people and how often it seems as though people just unfortunately don’t get to be treated kindly.
I’m going to begin by explaining the story that initially inspired this post.
At some point between Christmas and New Years I had a family staying with two boys who seemed like the could be somewhere from nine to thirteen years old. Immediately after check in the kids began to walk into our little store to pick out some snacks. As the parents remained in the lobby waiting for them the older of the two boys calls out to his parents and ask them what kind of ice cream they would like. After his parent questions him he simply responds that he wanted to buy ice cream for everyone to enjoy.
So immediately this sounds like a super generic story– someone buying ice cream– yippee. However I was initially intrigued when the young boy decided this and at no point demanded his parents buy him an ice cream. Instead his first thought was to think of what everyone else wanted before he picked out what he had wanted. The other reason I was intrigued was because literally everyday I see kids walk into our little snack shop and demand their parents buy them sweets and in some situations, through a fit when they do not get their way.
Next, when the boy goes to pay he hands me a debit card that almost seems like it is some sort of visa card he probably received as a Christmas gift. As I go to put it through the system the card declines. At this point, however, I truly was feeling touched by how this boy wanted to do something nice for his family and told him he could have the treats and not to worry about it.
The boy was shocked. He was in complete disbelief that someone was going to allow him to have these things without paying. As well, this was not the fake shock people do when they have almost manipulated a way to get something for free– this was genuine surprise– because every time this boy came down to buy snacks and I gave him a discount or a discounted price he was still in disbelief. At one point later in the night he even came back down after he found out that his younger brother had taken something without asking/paying to offer payment for the treat and to apologize.
Now I am not saying that in order to be kind you have to give things away for free. What I am trying to more or less get to is that first, that kindness inspires more kindness, and yes my effort of kindness where to let this boy have some snacks on the house but more importantly, that a boy, so young has already learned to not expect kindness from others; you can demand and beg to get what you want but by simply being a good person you get nowhere. You can be cruel and nasty and have everything you want but by putting others first you end up a step back.
So this brings me to my next story that left me speechless for a moment. Similar what I learned from the previous story, this one features some kids who had learned not to expect kindness from other people.
After returning to work from vacation I just so happened to look in my drawer at work to find a big yellow envelope. Honestly at first I was nervous to open as I was expecting to see some sort of complaint- not that I had done something I thought someone would be unhappy about but often times people are more likely to let someone know when they are dissatisfied versus satisfied.
Instead, I open this envelope to find thank you cards that ended up being from kids who had stayed at our property. To be completely honesty, when I first read through the thank you notes I almost didn’t remember these kids. After reading the notes to me from the kids listing very specific things I did I finally remembered. The reason I had trouble remembering the kids was because I couldn’t remember doing something that deserved a thank you like this.
The notes gave thanks for me putting out more hot chocolate and hot water for them, and giving them some treats for less than the listed price in our snack shop.
It truly shows that you never know how your actions are going to affect people. In the cards that kids wrote that I was the nicest hotel worker they have ever met. This is simply not true. However, these kids only elementary or middle school aged had once again already learned that when they go someone they should not expect kindness and I am so honored and happy that I was able to show them that this doesn’t have to be true.
Kindness matters. Simple as that. You don’t have to do crazy acts to show kindness but by simply trying to do a good job you can out a positive effect on someone else without even knowing.
So if you have read to this point here is your little reminder to do something nice for someone today. It doesn’t have to be giving something to someone for free but by keeping a smile of you face as you walk around, or saying hello to someone you pass by, or holding the door you can have the biggest impact on someones day or even have the ability to change someone’s life.