We recently visited our daughter, Kaitlin, in Houston. She is employed at the Marriott Marquis downtown, and we had the opportunity to explore this wonderful property. If you haven’t visited the Marquis, the Texas-shaped lazy river is a must, especially on a hot summer day.

The Elevator Experience

After working out late one afternoon, I returned to our room only to realize that I had left my iPhone on the elliptical machine. I made my way back to the elevators on the 18th floor and pressed the down arrow.

It was taking a surprisingly long time for the elevator to reach my floor.

I waited … waited … waited … and finally I heard the elevator beep sound, and the door promptly opened.

On this particular evening, the Marquis was hosting a major conference for financial planners, and more than 1,000 of them attended, including spouses. This was Saturday night, and the couples were making their way to the lavish gala.

They were dressed to the hilt!

When the door opened, several men were already occupying the elevator. I felt a bit uncomfortable because I was in my sweaty gym clothes, but I had a sense of urgency to retrieve my iPhone!

One of the gentlemen stated … “Join us! There is no dress code on this elevator!”

I was impressed! With such a small gesture, this person, who I did not even know, created a situation where I immediately felt comfortable. In fact, on the short ride to the 6th floor where I would exit, we all had a pleasant conversation.

What I Learned

Over the years, there have been countless times when I could have taken some small action to make others feel accepted, and I’m ashamed to admit that I have not always done so.

Let me share one example … My son and I were playing tennis one afternoon, and a young boy watched us play for 10 minutes with a racket in his hand. There is no doubt he wanted to join us, but I took no action, and instead, continued playing with my son. Eventually, the boy jumped on his bike and rode away.

It was my responsibility to take action here. I understand this was quality time for my son and me, but it might have made a big difference to this young man. I later thought, correctly or incorrectly, that perhaps he longed for a father figure to spend time with him.

I lost a beautiful opportunity to show acceptance and to share with my son the importance of making others feel comfortable.

Moving Forward

I might be a little tough on myself about this situation, but it matters to me.

The elevator experience is a small example of the countless daily opportunities for us to smile and welcome others. When a person walks into a room, and we sense that they feel out of place, this is the time for us to take the initiative. We can ask them to sit at our table or even just have a short conversation.

The beauty of life is we have many chances to be kind to others. Instead of looking the other way, let’s be the first to show compassion, kindness, and love.