Room For The Night
One stormy night many years ago, a man in his forties and his wife from New York entered the lobby of a small hotel in Philadelphia. Trying to get out of the rain, the couple approached the front desk hoping to get some shelter for the night. “Could you possibly give us a room here?” the husband asked. The manager, a friendly man with a winning smile, looked at the couple and explained that there were three conventions in town. “All of our rooms are taken,” the manager said. “But I can’t send a nice couple like you out into the rain at one o’clock in the morning. Would you perhaps be willing to sleep in my room? It’s not exactly a suite, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night.” When the couple declined, the Philadelphia manager pressed on. “Don’t worry about me; I’ll make out just fine,” the manager told them. So the couple agreed.
As he paid his bill the next morning, the New Yorker said to the manager, “You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I will build one for you.” The manager looked at them and smiled. The three of them had a good laugh. As they drove away, the couple agreed that the helpful manager was indeed exceptional, as finding people who are both friendly and helpful isn’t easy.
Two years passed. The Philadelphia manager had almost forgotten the incident when he received a letter. It was from the man, who recalled in it that stormy night and enclosed a round-trip ticket to New York so the manager could pay them a visit. The man from New York met him in airport. He then pointed to a great new building there, a palace of reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers thrusting up to the sky. “That,” said the New Yorker, “is the hotel I have just built for you to manage.” “You must be joking,” the Philadelphia manager said. “I can assure you I am not,” said the New Yorker, a sly smile playing around his mouth.
The New Yorker’s name was William Waldorf Astor, and the magnificent structure was the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, one of the world’s most glamorous hotels at that time. The Philadelphia guy who became its first manager was George C. Boldt.
Young George Boldt buried his own comfort and convenience by giving up his room on account of his genuine concern for others. When you are genuinely concerned about the well being of another, you would try to ensure it even at your own expenses. That type of altruism is what touched Waldorf, and brought forth the reward of becoming the manager of the most outstanding hotel in the world. Be sure, you can not bring sunshine into the life of others, without letting some of it into your own.
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