Archive for August, 2012

A Little Pampering

ImageShortly after riding into Bonneville Oregon a police cruiser pulled me over.  My initial thought was “WHAT!?  Is it illegal to ride a bike in this town?”  Well the friendly policeman got out of his car and asked if I was the woman riding her bike across the country.  I told him I was indeed that woman.  “Great,” he said, “Then you must follow me as we’ve been waiting for you.”  Of course my suspicious nature kicked in and I asked to see his ID.  “You know Officer Kennett” glancing at his badge name “one can’t be too careful.  I mean you could have been some nutcase in disguise.”  Officer Kennett laughed and said “You are so right to have asked to see my ID.  I commend you on your safety knowledge and now that we have that behind us, just follow me.  We’re going to head across the river and up the street just a few blocks to the Bonneville Spa.” 

At this point I was excited about getting a little pampering at this spa before I found a place to stay for the night.  After a grueling hot day on the bike I could use a little pampering.  As we approached the Bonneville Spa I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  The place was nestled in pine trees and although the outside was nothing spectacular looking the surrounding area made up for it.  The sounds of the birds and the smell of the pine trees were intoxicating.  

As I approached the front entrance a man came out looking all official.  I figured this must be the hotel manager and right I was.  With arms outstretched the hotel manager said “Welcome to the Bonneville Spa.  We would like for you to enjoy all of our facility here.  You are our guest through Sunday.”  Now I knew I had died and gone to heaven.  

My gear was taken by the valets and I was escorted inside.  The inside was magnificent with its high ceilings, rustic fireplace, and the staff seemed very attentive to my needs.  The concierge took me to my room that had its own hot tub and a balcony that looked out onto the courtyard.  I’m not big into massages, but let me tell you after months of being on a bike, working in fields, bussing tables, and cleaning hotel rooms, being pampered with a massage was just what this old body needed.  Then I experienced one of the finest meals I’ve ever had, pan seared prawns with a wonderful Caesar salad.  Life was good. 

My night’s sleep was divine with the bed feeling almost like you were sleeping on a cloud.  I can’t remember sleeping that soundly in ever so long.  The next morning I was greeted with a fabulous breakfast of eggs, toast, sausage, and fresh fruit.  I was then asked if I wanted to get a facial, go for a hike, take a trip to one of the local wineries, or enjoy other activities the spa was offering.  I thought about it and decided it would be fun to just sit in the comfy chairs in the lobby and read a good book. 

As I sat there I found myself doing more people watching than I was reading.  And what amazed me was the number of people who came in looking like a million bucks and treating the help like they were yesterday’s garbage.  One such couple came close to getting scolded by me, but I noticed the staff employee handled the situation with dignity and finesse something the couple knew nothing about. 

Later that afternoon the manager approached me with suggestions of what they could do to make my stay there even more memorable.  I knew this would be my chance to maybe give something back so I asked if staff was allowed to use the spa’s amenities when not working.  The manager said they can, but most are unable to afford the fees that are charged.  I said “then staff does not get any discounts.”  The manager confirmed that stating it was corporate policy. 

“Well then, would it be against corporate policy if this person here,” pointing to myself, “asks that the way her stay here could be made more memorable is to allow all staff who are interested the pleasure of using whatever amenities they chose free of charge?”  The manager stood there for a moment trying to comprehend my request and finally said “Don’t you like it here?”  “I like it just fine, but after sitting here watching how hard your staff works and how some of the guests treat them I thought it would be nice for them to enjoy a wonderful massage, a facial, a dip in the pool or whatever else they choose to do.  I received such wonderful pampering yesterday and it improved my whole outlook on life so much so that I just feel that your staff deserves a little pampering too.  You may find that they work even harder than they do by allowing them such a privilege.”  The manager smiled and thanked me for my thoughtfulness.  I told him that it has been my experience that you get back what you give to a person and by giving his staff some pampering they would probably be more apt to pamper the guests more than they already do.  The manager agreed to my request and the next few days each staff member was able to enjoy some amenity the hotel/spa offered.  All were so grateful to me and on the day that I left to head back out on the road I was given a wonderful basket of fruits, nuts, and other quick energy snack foods.  My pampered long weekend had come to an end and on such a high note.  I figured I could coast into Troutdale, my next destination, on my refreshed attitude alone.  And the staff at the Bonneville Spa showed that their attitudes were also refreshed.  We all need a little pampering every now and then. 

And in my real world, my mind goes immediately to the clients that Catholic Charities serves each and every day.  It is our goal to always treat each and every one of God’s people with the respect and dignity they deserve.  It may not seem like we pamper our clients much, but I believe by just being there for them, listening to their stories, providing them with some necessary things that help them move on to a better life could seem like pampering to them.  

I have too often seen people of higher means or in a higher position rudely treat someone of a lesser stature.  Sometimes I think people get caught up in their own lives and react without thinking.  Others are just pugnacious by nature and just have a nasty outlook on life.  Whatever the reason, treating people like second rate citizens is just wrong.  We are all God’s children and we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  And we all deserve a little pampering now and then.  So next time you want to tell someone what they did wrong try telling them what they did right first, give them a little “pampering” and see how much more they’ll do for you.  You might just be surprised at how much more you actually get out of this person.  And just because a person seems down on their luck doesn’t mean they don’t need a little pampering too.  I always think of the bible verse Matthew 25:35 – For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.  We just never know when that stranger might just be Jesus in disguise.  So try pampering someone today and watch them bloom.  And as always, let’s keep going the distance.  God bless you all.

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