It has been a long & emotional week. I flew to Ronaoke Virginia for the great honour of being one of the plenary speakers to open the Collaborating Across Borders conference for interprofessional health educators.
Before I left my room for my talk, I left $2 on the pillow for the housekeeping staff. That’s a habit I have adopted over the years and my husband teases me that I’m forever looking for tip money. I figure that being a housekeeper in a hotel is a pretty thankless, low paying and sometimes disgusting job – so leaving two dollars on the pillow seems like a very small token of appreciation.
I then went to the ballroom, and climbed up on stage and looked out into the sea of close to 1,000 participants. I couldn’t actually see their reactions to my talk, because there were so many people out there. I could hear in my voice that I was nervous for the first few minutes and stumbled over my words until I settled down into a more even rhythm. I tried to forgive myself for not being perfect. The crowd was engaged and respectful, and I was appreciative of their attention and applause. My talks are basically about compassion, and how I believe that actively listening to patient stories can lead to more compassionate health care. One of my mantras is that I’m talking about kindness, and kindness is free.
Afterwards, I stuck around for lunch and attended some sessions. Then I needed to retreat into my room for some introvert time. My room was nice and tidy and my bed was made. On the covers was this note:
I had given only $2 and I received this beautiful note in return. To the lady who does the housekeeping: I did have a bless day. Thank you for being a part of that. Such a small effort on my behalf for such a large reward. I’ve tucked this little note away in my notebook to remind me, even if I am weary or rushed, to always be kinder than necessary. As the saying goes, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. God bless you too.