Last week I slipped away for a spontaneous two day vacation. I made a reservation at a Hampton Inn which I always choose because of their great service and emphasis on cleanliness. This particular Hampton Inn was in the beautiful historic district of downtown Charleston. The hotel was absolutely charming and met all my expectations, but it was the staff that impressed me even more.
At breakfast the first morning, (Hampton Inn serves a great one) I watched a bellman named Henry sing his way through the lobby as he greeted folks and helped the breakfast staff do anything that required an extra set of hands. He was spreading happiness faster than I could spread butter on my toast!
I talked with Henry after the crowds thinned out and quickly understood why he is so liked by guests and fellow staff. Henry smiles endlessly as he performs his duties as bellhop. It doesn’t take long before he’s belting out a 60’s tune with an amused guest. He lets the guest know that he prefers his music to those rappers of today. He throws in a couple of dance steps which quickly draws an audience.
Born six decades ago and raised in Charleston, Henry loves his life and attributes his joyfulness to his deep rooted spirituality and his beloved Mother. “She raised 6 boys and 6 girls, Henry says, “and she taught us to accept what little we had. Somehow she managed to spread it around to all of us.”
I ask Henry what he likes about his job and he replies,”It makes me feel good by doing for people.” He pauses and waits for my next question.” What about the staff, Henry? Any thoughts about them?” He looks around the room and starts to laugh. “They’re lovable and understanding” he replies knowing the two desk clerks are within hearing range.
Later that day, I ask an employee named Latalia for her thoughts on Henry. “He’s awesome” she says. “Some days when we’re down, his singing will cheer us up a lot.”
As I sit at my desk writing about Henry, I imagine how he’s singing and dancing his way through a new day and a new set of guests…I feel blessed to have met him.