One of the many things I enjoy about traveling is finding different ways to help people make their job less of a stress, even if I’m considered a guest.
I’ve stayed at many different hotels and Airbnb, dined at many different restaurants and enjoyed coffee and wifi at many different coffee shops around the United States. When I go to these places, I always make sure that I leave the place super tidy and clean.
The other day I was having lunch at Wildflower Bread Company and noticed that the lady who was taking my order, was also serving the food, and bussing the tables even when it was really the customers who were supposed to take care of their own dishes, like at Panera Bread.
When I first came into the restaurant, it was empty but I noticed there were still some tables that had dishes. As I was sitting at a table eating my food, I noticed more people coming in and out, leaving their tables super messy without a care. It started to get busy and I see the same lady trying to multitask as everyone sat there and watched her overwhelmed with responsibilities probably thinking, “not my job, not my problem”. It didn’t help that her coworkers were all taking smoke breaks outside.
I was getting ready to leave but didn’t want to leave without helping her. So I helped bussed some of the dishes and clean tables. Of course it wasn’t my job but it doesn’t matter. I worked as a server and bartender years ago and know what it’s like to have to do everything myself and feel overwhelmed.
I wasn’t expecting anything from this lady and wasn’t asking for a thank you. All I wanted to do was to help her get back into the flow by alleviating some of her stress and it put a smile on her face. I left feeling really good. She also thanked me of course.
Also, anytime I stay somewhere, even in hotels, I never leave the room a mess. I’ve never had that kind of mentality where I think because I paid a certain amount that it’s ok for me to be a slob and someone else to clean up after me. No. I always make sure I clean up after myself everywhere I go before I check out. It makes life so much easier for housekeeping because they have tons of sloppy people to clean up after and they probably don’t make a lot of money doing it. If there is a tip envelope, I will usually leave some money, even though I still clean up after myself.
It really has become crystal clear to me that the mindset of compassion in America is very corrupted. This is why I feel the need to travel to either Indonesia or India for a while. I see that most people I’ve come across in the states only want to help others if there is something material to receive in return. Or don’t feel it’s necessary to help anyone in need because they feel entitled for everything to be done for them. It’s very sad.
I’m working on meditating towards acceptance of this common problem so that it won’t bother me anymore anytime I observe it. Maybe some day, more people will wake up and find that contributing just a little of their time to help make someone’s job less stressful without expecting anything in return, will become a habit.