Prime example: On our honeymoon, the wife and I were stranded by our cruise ship because our plane had mechanical trouble, so we had to instead fly to where the boat would meet up with us. Luckily, her mother booked us into this Westin fortress-resort on St. Maarten’s. I didn’t know anything about anything, so off we went.
So here we are in the lobby of this Westin thing, having been under duress and stress for something like two days of traveler hell. And this weird thing starts happening. The woman behind the registration desk is smiling and being pleasant, and it seems genuine. A fellow comes by and offers us a beverage, just because. Another fellow grabs all our heavy bags and is really kind to us as he takes it to our rooms. In the rooms, we get a card and flowers expressing sympathy for our travails. And I think there was candy.
As it’s happening, at one point, in ear shot of the hotel’s employees, I turn to my wife and ask, almost maniacally, “Why are these people being so nice to us???”
It was kind of terrifying.
What I learned is that not every aspect of human commerce is done with reluctance or anger. Having lived in New Jersey, New York City, and DC, I had grown accustomed to every interaction being at best grudging, and at worst, hostile. Stores, transit, hotels, government offices, anything. As a touring actor, we stayed in cheap places, and so no one went out of their way to be hospitable. Indeed, some folks were downright distrustful of a band of actors, and outright nasty.
So now, when I come upon a place or a business that is genuinely kind and helpful, it blows my mind, even today. The answer to the question I asked my wife on our honeymoon is not “because they’re out to get you,” which is what I assumed.
What made me think of this? The wife just entered this contest with a local B&B that we really like to get a free weekend with them. She had to submit a funny wedding-related picture, and whichever pic gets the most votes wins the weekend.
Ah ha! You’ve found me out. Yes, this post was just an excuse to ask you to go to this place’s Facebook page and vote for the hilarious picture of my then-wife-to-be, stuffing pizza in her face with a tablecloth attached to her. It’s way funnier than the other entries, trust me. Yes, you’ll have to install some stupid Facebook app on your account, but it’s non-intrusive as best I can tell, and you can just remove it when it’s all over.
Oh! And you can vote once a day for the rest of the month. So, what do you say – will you help me and my lovely bride get the hell away from our kids for a weekend? You’ll have my thanks, and a better-rested blog author.