Most people don’t know what a hotel room, a cleaning lady, and Star Wars characters have in common–most people that is, except me. God used my unique experience to teach me a valuable lesson about generosity and kindness.
It all happened during my family’s summer vacation to Albuquerque, New Mexico last year. As happens on many trips, kids have to wait for their parents to get ready in the morning. As an only child, I have a lot of experience with this concept, so it was no big surprise that this particular morning I was twiddling my thumbs in our hotel room. A few days before, I had finished the last book I had with me, and the boredom had become unbearable. So, like any other person my age, I took the most reasonable approach: “Mom, I’m bored!”
“Then do something!” called my mom from the bathroom where she was doing her hair. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much, but it couldn’t hurt to try. I stared down at the finished book that was sitting beside me, The Mystery Of the Origami Yoda. I wished that I could erase my memory and read it again. Then, I got an idea. Within ten minutes, I had read the instructions in the back of the book and folded two Origami characters. Soon, two of my fingers had become acquainted with my newest finger puppets, Origami Yoda and Origami Darth Paper. They weren’t folded perfectly, but I knew that with practice, my origami folding skills would improve. I was just about to throw them in the trash and make new ones when I thought of a better plan.
I took a piece of paper and wrote a short note on it:
Thank you for cleaning our room the last few days. As a thank you, I would like to give you a piece of candy and two finger puppets inspired by Star Wars characters: Origami Yoda and Origami Darth Paper. Do you like Star Wars?
P.S. I have prepared a return note on the other side of this one.
By the time the note and puppets were set up, my parents were ready to leave. I crossed my fingers and hoped that someone would write back. That day, we hung out with my Grandpa, but the most anticipated part of my day awaited me at my hotel room.
When we returned to the hotel room, I noticed all of my stuffed animals were lined up on my pillow. In front of them was the note I had left for the cleaners. On the back of my note, a cleaning lady had written:
Dear Hotel Origami Person Who Loves Stuffed Animals (that was easy for her to tell),
Thank you so much for the origami pieces. I have a nine-year-old son who loves origami and will be excited to see them. Thank you for taking time and writing a note
for me along with making origami.
From Cleaner, Andrea
P.S. You make my day, thank you so much. I hope you enjoy staying here!
I was THRILLED! For the next few days, we continued writing back and forth. One day though, I was on my way to the lobby to catch up with my parents so we could go out to eat. As I waited for the elevator, practically tasting the Mexican tortillas I would soon devour, I spotted a cleaning lady rolling her cart down the hallway. She was graceful, and her long beautiful black hair swayed as she walked. Her eyes were shining, and her lips were pulled up into the slightest smile. It took all of my willpower not to yell and ask if she was Andrea, but it turns out I didn’t have to. She turned towards me and asked, “Are you, Sabina?”
“Yes,” I said, my heart pounding, “are you Andrea?”
“Yes,” she answered beaming with joy.
The next 30 seconds were a blur. I still can’t remember what I said, but it was probably something stupid. She told me thank you for caring for her, and then I heard a ding. The elevator doors opened. We said goodbye, and the last thing I saw as the doors closed was her smiling face.
We continued writing until the last day of my stay in that hotel, May 22, 2017. I returned to our room after a fun day with my Grandpa to find all of my stuffed animals sitting around a gift box with a card on top. I was shocked! All of this time I had never imagined that she would give ME something. I ran to it, my heart pounding with excitement.
I opened the card to find a sweet letter inside saying how much my letters had meant to her over the past week. Then, I opened the box. Inside of it was a small stuffed animal pig that Andrea’s youngest daughter, Melissa, had picked out for me; a dollar made into an origami heart from her son, Oskar; and a simple pink bracelet. I have gotten a lot of gifts over my thirteen years, but those small things meant more to me than most of them. It wasn’t the gifts that mattered, but the three kind hearts behind them.
I decided right then and there that I wasn’t going to let her generosity go unrewarded. The next morning while my parents were packing up the rest of our stuff, I got together one last gift for my new friend, Andrea. I got together a gift bag and filled it with a gift card to a restaurant, a water gun for Oskar, some pink dress-up sunglasses for Melissa, and Andrea’s daily snack. I wrote my last note and placed it lovingly next to the bag.
As I look back on that day, a Bible verse comes to mind: Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you.” God wasn’t talking about giving so that people would give unto you. He was telling all of his disciples to give freely, and God will reward you. Either here on earth, or in heaven.
About the Author:
Name: Sabina Boyer
How long have you been with TPS?
I have been with TPS for two years now.
What classes are you taking with TPS this year?
I am only taking Writing Fundamentals 6 this year.
What are a few of your hobbies?
I really enjoy sketching, making Popsicle stick models, and I am currently working on writing my third book.