In my life, I have had the very blessed opportunity of finding a lot of mentors. These are people that have been very important, very influential in my learning curve not just simply in my professional life, but also in my personal life. They have helped me shape my understanding of the world, taught me to anticipate certain challenges, and step by step- they all make up the pieces in my path to discover where I belong.
For me, mentors do not need to be people that are there for you forever. They don’t have to be there for every difficulty you encounter in life. They don’t have to grow old with you. They just have to be people who, for one moment of their lives, directed their attention to you and taught you one thing worth remembering for the rest of your life. As such, I am very blessed, because a lot of people have taught me invaluable things. They gave me experience, wisdom, and stories all worth keeping, and all worth contemplating.
One such person was a hotel manager that I have always respected. As young as he was, he was firm when the time was needed while still staying well liked by all, he picked things up fast, was thorough in his work, his communication, and his directions to staff. He was good at what he did and very accomplished.
A topic that I find always more difficult to handle is that of ethics, when and where to draw the line over certain situations. It is a line that you have to straddle carefully.
There came a situation at work where, one day, a certain gentleman checked in to stay at a hotel that the manager I just mentioned, worked for. Usually, when people check into hotels, they tend to be out during the day, allowing for housekeeping staff to come in, swiftly clean the vacant room, and freshen it up for the evening. For this particular guest though, he seemed to be in the room more often than most, and did not mind the presence of a housekeeper coming in to clean while he was still present. So housekeeping would commence while he was inside.
Over time, though, it came to the manager’s knowledge that something about this male guest was making his female housekeepers uncomfortable. There was never any sort of specific harassment reported. But there was enough of a commotion that eventually, none of the room attendants were willing to service that room anymore. One housekeeping staff in particular, was adamant in her discomfort. The male guest was always there.
In response to this issue, the manager stood up for his staff in a manner that I find rarely heard of. He went to this guest’s room, and knocked on the door. The guest opened it, and following, the manager explained the level of discomfort that his staff felt in the presence of this guest. He then asked the guest to leave, essentially saying- I will find accommodation for you elsewhere, but you are no longer welcome here.
This was a long past event when the story was relayed to me. One of many anecdotes that hotel managers have up their sleeves. I remember hungrily asking- then what happened. At which point, my manager turned to me, smiled, and said, “The guest just kinda shrugged, said ‘ok’, and packed his bags.”
I couldn’t believe it. He left- like that? It’s not hard to imagine that this relocation could have escalated into something quite different, and much more negative.
I am not here to pass theories on what I thought was the issue with the male guest, but I really wanted to applaud the courage that was taken to face this patron and say something like that. The housekeepers talked about this incident for a long time afterwards, overcome with gratitude. To believe your staff so whole heartedly that in listening to them, you take action for them to that degree. That, to me, is a great manager. They are not always easy to come by.