Dressed all in black, the uniform of his job as a hotel waiter/service guy, he stopped by while I was having breakfast. His face was covered with concern. He told me that he had heard part of my presentation the day before - the part where I was talking about bullying and teasing. He told me that he knew a woman who was experiencing teasing and bullying, so much so that she was considering giving up her dream of college. Even though she had difficulty learning - she wanted to better herself and was giving it a go. But what turned out to be difficult wasn't the books or the academics, it was the others on campus. People who felt free to make life hard for her.
He had just been talking to her before coming in to the room to set up for the coffee break and he heard that I was talking about what his friend was experiencing. He didn't want her to quit. He wanted her to make it. So after the day was over, he was doing the final straightening of the room before locking it up. He noticed my new book 'the aRe word' on the book table. A quick look convinced him that the book would help her. He took it and gave it to her.
Last night he worried that he would get in trouble, indeed even fired, for this simple act of kindness. He knew that he shouldn't have taken it without asking but he knew that this woman needed support 'right now' not 'tomorrow'. So he apologized and asked to pay for the book. I was moved, kindness that comes out of left field always makes me emotional. I told him he did exactly the right thing and that there was no way I'd take his money. The book was his gift to her, but it was my gift to him. He was uncomfortable and I could tell he was still nervous. Could he trust me? So I told him flat out, I will not report this to anyone here at the hotel - not because I'm forgiving but because you did nothing wrong.
When it came time for the bill to arrive for breakfast, he had paid for my meal. The breakfast cost more than the book. But I let it go with just a thank you.
I want more of him in the world. I want to thank, by calling out here on this blog, his parents for instilling in him the kind of values that make the world a better place.
Here's to kindness - unexpected.
Here's to courage - unprecedented.
Here's to love - unlimited.