This holiday season, I will be traveling. Traveling to see family, traveling with family, traveling to see friends, and traveling with friends. I have spent the past four weekends at hotels. Though this gets monotinous at times, what I have noticed most is the kindness of complete strangers. With all of the hatred in the world, it is good to know that the human race has not forgotten to simply be kind.
I woke up on Thanksgiving morning in a hotel room. Not my ideal place to wake up on a holiday but being there to see family we hadn’t seen in a very long time made it all worth it. Since my internal clock refuses to let me sleep in, I decided rather than to wake Michael up, I would go to the lobby to have some breakfast. The lobby was almost empty except for a few businessmen whos’ flights had been delayed. I sat down with my cup of coffee and my book with the pre-coverage of the parade playing on the TV in the background. I was deep in thought while mindlessly eating my breakfast when one of the hotel employees stopped by my table. She was an older black woman maybe mid 60’s with a smile that just lit up the room. She put her hand on top of mine and said, “Smile, baby. Nothing is so serious that a little Thanksgiving cheer can’t solve.” So of course I smiled. I told her she was right and I had everything to be grateful about. She patted my hand, said “that’s better” and continued about her morning routine. I watched her then. I watched her go to each person in the lobby and say good morning and wish them Happy Thanksgiving. I watched her serve a young mother and her child breakfast after learning she had been having medical issues. I watched as each of the other employees made their way into the lobby give her a hug and call her “momma”. I watched as her cheerful attitude turned a boring hotel lobby into a room filled with friends and Thanksgiving cheer. She could have been upset that she had to work on a holiday. She could have stayed behind a desk and done as little work as possible. She could have let us all sit by ourselves without interacting. But she didn’t. She chose kindness. She chose to show us what this holiday was all about. It wasn’t some huge act, she didn’t change the world, but she changed my day. She reminded me how importatnt kindness is. She reminded me what it means to be grateful. She remineded me that even though we were complete strangers we are all connected, all here just trying to figure life out the best we can.
Though we were at the hotel for two more nights, I never saw Momma again. I tend to think she was my Thanksgiving angel sent to me that morning to remind me of what this holiday season is all about. So wherever you may be traveling, whatever you may be doing, remember how the kindness of this one stranger made my day. Be that person for someone else this season. Choose kindness, choose love and choose, like Momma said, to smile.