Always be blessed by the people you meet

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 4, 2010

After bringing our daughter to the airport Tuesday morning, I asked Jeanne if she felt like a breakfast at the Airport Hilton.

As we approached the entrance to the Hilton, a small, middle-aged black man was smiling as he watered some flowers. “What’s your name?” I asked. “James Baker,” he answered. “Have you been working here long?” I asked. “Thirty-three years,” he replied. My next question was, “Do they treat you well here?” “They have always been good to me and I love my job,” he answered.

I continued, “James, do you remember before the Hilton, another hotel was here, and a small group of seniors on a senior trip from Juneau, Wis., was killed when a plane crashed into the building?” He said he heard about it and immediately asked if I remembered the airplane crash in Kenner that killed all the people aboard, except a little baby who miraculously survived. I did remember, and he said that just proves God is on the Throne. I didn’t have to ask. I knew by his spirit that he was a Christian. James was small in stature but big in his enthusiasm for living.

I gave James a hug as we parted, and as I entered the lobby a young man smiled and bid me “Good Morning.” “What’s your name?” I asked. He answered, “Ray Charles.” “Like the musician?” I questioned. “Yes sir,” he replied. I then asked, “How long have you worked here?” “Six years,” he answered, “and that man you were talking to watering the flowers got me this job.” “Do you enjoy your work?” I asked. “Yes sir, I love my job, and the people I work for are great!” he replied.

I then met the security manager, Darryl Santiago, at the front desk as he talked to a pleasant young lady, Shannon McNeil, who was working the desk.

On my way to the dining area, a young man in a suit greeted us with a smile and “Good Morning!”

While we were eating, this same young man came in the area, and I realized he worked for the Hilton. I introduced myself and learned that he was Gerald Osborne, director of property operations.

I said to him, “You seem to enjoy life.” His answer was, “It’s easy to enjoy life when you’re in a good relationship and have two great children and a job you love.” He had a spirit that was attractive, and I told him so.

All of this, including breakfast, with good food and excellent service, took only one hour and 15 minutes.

It was indeed a blessing to have met James, Ray, Darryl, Shannon and Gerald. I now have a good understanding of why the Hilton is so successful.

As we walked back to the car, I told Jeanne that some people go through life and never experience meeting the type of people we had just encountered. She agreed as we both acknowledged that God blesses us with the people we meet.

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