Sunday, July 31, 2011

People make the difference

I'm mentioned before how wonderful it is for us, as bed and breakfast owners, to see our guests not only enjoying their meal, but enjoying each other around the breakfast table. What's particularly wonderful to see is when people end up exchanging email or phone numbers in order to connect again, whether for business or pleasure. Not too long ago, we had two sets of guests who have each come out several times a year apiece, never at the same time. We have so enjoyed each couple, and were pretty certain they'd have a lot in common. So we sort of "set them up" over a glass of wine around the fireplace. Such fun!  Chris and I finally cut out to make ourselves dinner, but we heard them all laughing and talking in the living room for a long time afterwards.

I have to believe that such connections happen in places that feel like home. A bed and breakfast such as A Butler's Manor fosters a vibe that I'd like to believe attracts people who also care about others. This weekend, we had a couple of women traveling on business, attending a big charity shopping extravanganza called Super Saturday whose proceeds benefit the fight against ovarian cancer. They had flown in from Florida, and alas, one of the gal's luggage was lost in transit. The airline had promised delivery by 11:30 PM, and documents were taped on both front and back doors to make sure a delivery person wouldn't fail to leave the bag due to any missing paperwork. But at midnight, when two other guests came home from their evening out, Victoria was still pacing the living room, frantic that none of her clothing had arrived.  Hearing the story,Wendy --who had never met Victoria before -- volunteered to loan her a T-shirt to sleep in, and sat up chatting with her awhile to wait. The luggage still hadn't arrived by the time Wendy went to bed.


When when we found the release paperwork still in place on the back door the next morning, Chris and I too were concerned. And when Victoria wasn't down for breakfast by 9:45, Wendy and the entire breakfast table were worried: If the luggage hadn't arrived, how was Victoria going to attend the benefit? She needed her clothes and makeup. Everyone was comparing lost luggage horror stories and waiting for the answer.

And then Victoria came out to the patio, dressed in a lovely, freshly-pressed summer dress and gave the waiting table a thumb's up.

The whole table erupted in cheers.

I love that kind of interplay. It's a simple little drama, grueling to go through; thankfully, your stress level drops immediately after the issue has been resolved. But it's just kind of neat when suddenly you have a whole house of strangers pulling for you, offering to loan you supplies.

That's the difference between staying in a B and B and staying in a hotel. (Okay, if it were someplace like the Pierre, perhaps you could summon a concierge to go shopping for you. Maybe.)

By the way, Super Saturday was deemed quite a success...lots of shopping and celebrity-sighting. See a video of it here.

But for us in our little world, the fact that Victoria got her luggage and was able to enjoy her weekend was equally a success.

A small world? Maybe. I guess it's all in what makes up your perspective.

Quote of the Day:  “One thing I’ve learned: Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. Kindness that catches us by surprise brings out the best in our natures.” -- Bob Kerrey, former Governor, Senator

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