The Night Kindness Reigned

One rainy night many years ago, an elderly gentleman and his wife entered the lobby of a small hotel in Philadelphia. The man asked the clerk if he had any rooms.

The clerk was a friendly man who prided himself on superior customer service. He said that unfortunately the hotel was completely booked. “However,” he said, “rather than send you out in the rain at one o’clock in the morning, I would be happy to offer you my room. It’s not a suite, but it will be comfortable for the night.”

The elderly man tried to object, but the clerk insisted. The next morning, as he paid his bill, the elderly gentleman said to the clerk: “You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States.”1

Two years passed. One day the clerk received a letter from the elderly guest, inviting him to New York for a visit with a round-trip airline ticket. When the clerk arrived in New York, the man met him and led him to the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. He pointed to a brand-new building. “There is the hotel I have built for you to manage,” said the elderly man.

“You must be joking,” said the astonished clerk.

“I can assure you that I am not,” said the old man, a smile on his lips.

The elderly gentleman was William Waldorf Astor, and the palace that he had built for the young clerk was the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

You never know when kindness will come full circle.

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