We had just checked in to another hotel. (This was the third one in the last 4 days) We unloaded the car, grabbed the luggage cart (more on this later), and headed up to our room. As always, Kinsley had to be the one to press the elevator buttons and use the key to open the door to the room.
As we made our way inside I was focused on figuring out who would sleep where. We had been upgraded to a suite that had one giant king bed and a sofa that pulled out into a bed. As I was unloading the cart, I heard a little voice ask me if I wanted creamer in my coffee. I turned around to see Kinsley up on the counter of the bar, stirring up a concoction of water, sugar and who knows what else. Her smile was humongous as she took our drink orders and quickly served up our “coffees” to us.
For the next 24 hours this little counter was her whole world. Her dream of being a barista had come true and she was loving every second of it. Where I saw nothing, she saw everything.
The next morning we went to breakfast just as the buffet was about to close. I chatted with the lady working and learned that she was from Cuba. When I told her that I had been there, her face changed completely. It was a mixture of pain and happiness rolled into one look. I pulled out my phone and began showing her pictures of places that she had not seen in over 20 years. As we scrolled through the streets and faces of Cuba, tears began to fill her eyes. To me they were simple pictures on my phone, but to her they were everything. Our simple breakfast turned into an eye opening history lesson and a new friendship.
Checkout time was quickly approaching and it was time to load up the ol luggage cart once again. Addi and Colt went to retrieve it and had only been gone about 60 seconds when the phone in our room began to ring….it was the front desk. I quickly ran through the possibilities of what in the world an 8 year old and 10 year old could get into in under a minute but I never would have guessed this one.
In the competitive race to be the first to the cart, Colt had made a mad dash in the final stretch. His only mistake, not realizing that the door he was running through was not a door at all. Hilton keeps their windows and doors very clean, so clean in fact that Colt ran straight into it at full speed. The front desk was calling to tell us that he was on the couch in the lobby and that we might want to come down.
We arrived downstairs to 3 ladies from the front office staff and Colt hanging out on the couches. He was far more embarrassed than hurt and reeeeaaally wanted to get back to loading up the car. One of the ladies asked him if some chocolate ice cream would help his knee feel better. To a multi billion dollar hotel chain it was nothing, but to Colt it was everything. His embarrassing epidsode and knee pain quickly went away and so did the chocolate ice cream in front of him.
After we left I kept hearing the kids talk about the lady from breakfast, the “Starbucks” in our room and the Ice Cream Hotel. All very simple moments but ones that have a way of sticking in a kid’s mind for many years to come.
This week we are traveling through Florida, doing our best to raise money for our orphans and pastors in India. We have many “BIG” moments on the calendar, but I am learning to pay attention to the little ones as well.
This week be on the lookout for the simple. Take time to appreciate moments or people that you may normally overlook in the business of life. If you need help, spend some time with a child, they sure have an awesome way of reminding us just how fun life can be.
Andrew Smith is the founder of Orphans In Asia.
Smith served as an Infantry soldier with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division from 2002-2005. Wounded in Fallujah, Iraq in 2003 by shrapnel from an IED, he is the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Because of his military experience, he now also assists as a mentor with Honor & Courage (Operation Ward 57), a non-profit organization that financially assists Wounded Warriors and their families.