From college professor to desk clerk—can we say major cultural shock?
I left a career where my word was seldom challenged, I demanded respect—and got it—then took a job where people (hotel guests) don’t hesitate to yell at me and call me unflattering names.
Do I love it? You bet! Change is what makes life exciting, plus getting knocked down a peg or two is good for all of us.
Life is what you make it. I’m not sure why this quote came to me today, but it’s true. It’s so easy to wallow in unhappiness. We must look for those opportunities to see life in new ways, glory in something as simple as sunshine, or a walk in new territory. We must remember to look for the positive. It can recharge you.
Now in my 60’s, I try to look for humorous moments or just find the humor in the mundane. Working as a desk clerk provides many such opportunities. Chinese guests trying to figure out how to connect their phones to the hotel internet would make a great stage skit. Pointing to their phone doesn’t really explain their problem, nor does showing it to me with all its Chinese symbols. Speaking loudly and shoving it at me doesn’t seem to work either. And when they act like Google Translate is Greek, we have what I call “a failure to communicate.”
Although I’ve only been a desk clerk in West Yellowstone for three months, I’ve already started to collect some great memories. Here’s a humorous one. Two weeks ago, at one of the hotels where I work, a large Chinese family gathered in our lobby to prepare their evening meal. The water pot boiled, then crackers and cheese were passed, as they sat on the floor and on all the available furniture.
Did I mention they were all dressed in their pajamas?
In addition, ping, ping, ping went the cell phone games.
Once I saw that the wok would soon be heated in preparation for the main menu item, I quickly moved them to our breakfast room, figuring it would be easier to clean and less embarrassing when new guests checked in.
This decision on my part set my husband John off. He wanted them back in their rooms. John lost that round.
Last week, we had a large group of seniors from America. They didn’t want to drive to a restaurant, couldn’t make up their mind about where to eat, and had taken over our hotel lobby—deja vu. Their collective volume level was way off the chart.
This time John stepped in, giving restaurant advice, guiding them in the modern concept of food delivery, and setting them up in the break room. Crisis averted.
So many touching memories will go with me when I leave Yellowstone, many of them involving the guests at our hotels. There was the sweet man who brought me Chinese food, another who gifted me with a fan as a thank you for a small favor.
My best memory so far—the little girl who walked through our lobby in her bison-themed swimming fins on her way to the pool. She looked up at us and said, “thank you for letting us stay here.”
These scenes remind me of Proverbs 21:21—“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”
Lord, help me to be kind, patient, and aware that we are all made in your image. We are all your people, and there is good in everyone...even the mean lady who got mad at me because I didn't know the channel number for HGTV.