The Lady at the Hotel Counter
We’re back! Sorry for the silence!
Happy 50th post!
I am the lady that you first see when you walk in. I stand here for hours a day when there is absolutely no activity going on in the hotel. The hotel bar is directly in my line of sight, and the bartender is lucky. He only has to work for a couple hours a night, and there’s almost always people wanting drinks. Out of the corner of my eye I can see the guy who runs the food counter. It’s open from 7-9 AM and then he’s done for the day.
The pizza guy comes back every couple of hours and now we are on a first name basis. I have almost memorized his phone number because our guests ask for it so often.
My legs are tired because I’ve been standing for over an hour now. My mouth is even more tired because I’ve been holding a smile for who knows how long. I’ve said the same thing 7 times already in the hour: “Welcome to the Courtyard Marriott! How may I assist you?”
Tonight, I see a group of kids walk in around 10 PM. They are tired like I am; yet, they still have energy. They are young and have a lot of time. They sit in the lobby from 10 to 2 AM. Some come and go and every 20 minutes, saying goodnight to the rest of the group and heading towards the elevator. Every once in a while, one of them stands up to grab something from the refrigerator. They walk up to the counter and hand me cash and I smile and ask if they would like a receipt. They never do.
The way that they talk allows me to overhear their conversation. It’s as if I’m a part of the group, and I contribute my own opinion, but no one hears, so no one responds.
I take calls from guests and potential guests and miss parts of the conversation, but I can catch up quite easily. The kids are peers, but not all in the same grade. There are varying levels of experience and lessons learned, and many stories shared.
Out of the six kids, there seems to be a leader who guides the discussion. He shares the most stories and the other kids look to him with admiration. His words are the ones that they will remember because they are meaningful; they represent much more than just a personal anecdote.
Late in the night, just at the end of my shift, they crawl back to their rooms, exhausted. The table that they occupied for four hours is littered with bottles and napkins and empty candy bags, for which I am responsible to clean.
I walk around, picking up their trash slowly.
After my routine check around the lobby is done, I grab my few belongings and head out, as the guy from the next shift walks in. The whole process is about to repeat itself.