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Nice Service If You Can Get It

On Thanksgiving morning, at the Hampton Inn in South Kingstown, RI, my teenage daughter dropped an earring into the sink drain. I consulted with the extremely pleasant young woman at the front desk about it, feeling grateful for the staff members who had given up or postponed their holidays to help us keep and enjoy ours.

A Good Intention

“Do you have maintenance on staff today?” I asked, and explained the situation.

“Maintenance isn’t here today,” she said, “but we do have someone who can probably take care of that.”

“Oh, that would be great, thank you!” I said. I gave her $10 to pass on to the person who would be helping us, and off we went to a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.

Sadly, when we returned, stuffed and tired from eating, there was no earring waiting for us. It was clear that someone had tried to find it, but it looked like they hadn’t opened the under-sink trap at all. Instead, they had monkeyed with the stopper, which was now broken and completely blocking the drain.

Help on the Way

I didn’t return to the front desk because I didn’t want anyone to get into trouble for the failed attempt to help us. Instead, I propped the stopper open with coffee stirrers, wondering whether to ask again or keep silent when we checked out the next morning.

In the morning, the phone rang, and another pleasant person at the front desk announced that the handyman was in and available. Would I like him to come up? “Oh, yes!” I said.

A few minutes later I opened the door for a congenial fellow carrying a bucket of tools. He might have chuckled a bit at my MacGyvering with the coffee stirrers, but in just a few minutes he called out, “Okay, I’ve got it!” When I told him he’d just made a teenaged girl very happy, he rejoined, “And that isn’t so easy to do,” and we both laughed.

He said he would fix the stopper after we’d checked out, so as not to be in our way now. Once he had put away his tools, and was ready to go, I held out a second $10 — after all, I didn’t know if he’d gotten the first one from the desk, and surely he deserved it.

Simultaneously, he held the original $10 out to me. “You can take that back,” he said to me. “Oh, please!” I said. “No,” he said, quite definitively. I knew not to push. We nodded at each other, both happy.

Sigh of Relief

It’s a shame, isn’t it, that it’s so noteworthy when everyone behaves well and there’s a happy ending? The earring was found. The chain of communication worked beautifully and graciously from party to party. Everyone was helpful and honest. And so pleasant!

That’s quite a lot to be thankful for — and to praise.

Onward and upward,


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