I want to share a letter that I wrote today. If you feel led to share it, please do. If you know of ways to amplify my gratitude for the employee whom I am sending it to, please let me know or do them yourself. I hope this story makes you smile.
Georgia Jimenez, Director of Operations
HYATT REGENCY MINNEAPOLIS
1300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 55403
I want to thank you for your kindness. You went far above and beyond any responsibility you had to assure that our stay at the Hyatt Downtown Minneapolis met your hospitality standards. I want to tell you a bit about our family and why your extra-care was so moving to us.
Almost a year ago, I met a young woman on the street in downtown St. Paul. After some labored conversation, I learned that she was an immigrant and had been through some horrific things in her time since she arrived in the US. She was living in a shelter with her six year old son and was at the point where she had to find another place to live. Two weeks later, she and her son moved into our home.
We have been caring for them for the past year as they have navigated fiscal, physical, emotional challenges. We have six children of our own from 21-12 years of age. They have each leaned into this little family and have given up space and time to help make things a little bit better for the mother and son who now share our home. They do not complain about our budget being a little tighter. They do not complain about their space being a little smaller. They do not complain about their time being used for the support of others.
Part of the reason that they are so generous is the amazing father that they have. My husband, Steve, is a great dad. He is used to coming home from work to a house full of people but the day I told him that a little family needed a place to stay for a while, was a bit different from our run-of-the-mill dinner guests. He did not blink. He was committed to giving them space in our home and never complained about it for one moment. He models this sort of generosity and compassion to our children each and every day.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my elder daughters called to let us know that a friend of hers needed a place to stay for a while with her infant son. Again, our family shifted rooms and readied our home and hearts to expand our family a bit more. We now have three families living life together. (We also have an exchange student from Oman for the summer.) To say our life is full…is an understatement. We are grateful for the opportunity to be home for these wonderful people. We are well aware of the privilege that we have which makes it possible to offer some shelter to folks who really need it.
Even so, we do find ourselves worn out. We do not have as many dinner parties as we used to. We are happy when space for relaxing shows up and try to mindfully arrange for it when we can. As I tried to think of a gift for my husband for Father’s Day, a couple of nights away came to mind as the perfect thing. Space, privacy, relaxation and weekends with no extra responsibilities have been pretty non-existent for Steve. He goes to work all day during the week and comes home to a full-house with all the complexity and busyness that you might imagine. His weekends are full of tasks, as most people’s are, but there are fewer places and times when he can relax than there used to be. A hotel struck me as the perfect place to just get away without a lot of preparation and with built-in space. Hyatt in downtown Minneapolis popped up on my search and we fondly remembered that spot as a place we would have lunch sometimes when Steve worked at Westminster Presbyterian, across the street. I completed my reservation and then, as a matter of course, got a lovely welcome letter from you. I replied, and asked about a few details. You responded professionally and courteously.
We came with our two youngest on a sold-out weekend and there were lots of folks staying at the hotel who were attending events that kept them out late that Friday night. Our room was close to the elevators and their comings and goings proved to be a little loud. I called the front desk in the morning to see if we could change rooms for our second night. There was a delay and I reached out to you to see if you could update us on the room change. To say that you were great would be such an understatement.
You not only moved us to a far nicer room than we could have ever afforded, you treated us to lunch (which was beyond our budget that weekend), you had our things moved for us, you welcomed us into our new room with treats and drinks and over-the-top hospitality. You took a weekend away (which was already quite a splurge for us) and made it so very special. You had no way of knowing what we have been carrying for the past year. You had no way of knowing how much our family craved some pampering. You had no way of knowing anything about us at all and yet you treated us like royalty.
I want to make sure that I call out this act of kindness in such a way that you will be commended by your colleagues. I want to share this story broadly so that people can see how much power generosity has. I want to get the word out that in the midst of some pretty heavy and discouraging headlines, some folks are trying their best to bring joy. I want to thank you publicly, loudly, and clearly so you know that you made our weekend so very special.
I thank you, my husband thanks you and my children thank you.
If you want to reach out to this hotel, https://minneapolis.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html
+1 612 370 1234