Hotel Today

“Mr. Bekins, can you come down to the Front Desk?”  I left my office on the mezzanine and took the stairs to get there more quickly.  As I approached, I saw a well-dressed elderly couple with one suitcase standing in front of George, the clerk.  He explained, “They want room 114, but it is under renovation.”  The couple described how they had honeymooned in that room 50 years earlier.  I apologized that the room was literally all torn up. “George, give them the suite.”  The bellman took them up in the elevator and I called the restaurant.  “Please take a bottle of champagne and some pastries to the suite.” 
Twenty minutes later there was a knock on my office door.  It was the couple, and they didn’t look very well.  “When we were here before,” he explained, “we stole something.  We want to give it back.”  He handed me a pressed cardboard do-not-disturb sign with a velvet rope and embossed letters.  Indeed, it was from 1937. 
One of the important lessons I learned while managing the Hotel San Diego went beyond its age.  The building sat on leased land.  When you have an asset that will appreciate with time, your focus is more on the future.  If the attention is not on the future, as in this case, the day-to-day operations and the profits from them are more vital. 
We are like that hotel.  Our “ownership” is like a lease holder on a steadily-deteriorating building.  The Hotel San Diego was indeed falling apart from the cast iron plumbing to the staff, some of whom had worked there for decades.  We have careers, interests, family folks, and a structure in our lives which is constantly changing.  In Harry Chapin’s song Cat’s In The Cradle, he ends with, “We’ll get together then, Dad.  We’re gonna’ have a good time then.”  It is the lament and consequence of a father that was too busy for his son.
We are given today, but there is no promise for tomorrow.  We can plan for the future, but our efforts must be more on today than on some plan about what those distant days hold.  Spending generous amounts of time concentrated on those we love is absolutely the best investment.  Doing good work at our job is more important today than what we intend to do in the future. 
Live each day to the fullest and you will look back over your collection of days with fondness. 

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