Hospitality to Strangers

December 2, 2022

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” ~ Hebrews 13:2

The most amazing thing happened in an airport restroom in the Orlando airport. We had to wait a few hours to get our flight, so I familiarized myself with the restroom closest to our gate. It was crowded and there was a line of people each time. The first time there, I noticed a woman who had washed her hands, but the paper towel holder closest to her wasn’t working. A bathroom attendant kindly directed her to one that was working. I thought, “How nice.”

The next time I visited I had my older granddaughter with me. The attendant greeted her when she headed to the sinks, and then when her hands were washed, pointed the way to the working paper towel holder.

On my third visit, I had my youngest granddaughter with me. As we waited in line, I observe the woman being kind and helpful to other travelers. She smiled and said hi to my granddaughter.

I returned one last time just prior to boarding the flight. The same woman was still there, smiling and helping travelers. On my way out, I told her I’d noticed how kind and helpful she was to impatient and tired travelers as well as my two granddaughters. She got the biggest smile on her face and told me it was easy to be kind and helpful to people.

She was a person of color, and probably 50 years old, working shifts in an airport, specifically in a women’s restroom, cleaning up after other people, and on her feet for long hours. She faced a steady stream of travelers, hurrying to the next place, or frustrated because their plans had been disrupted. I imagine that to many people she was invisible. But the people passing through the restroom weren’t invisible to her.

Of all the people I interacted with on our vacation she was one of two people who glimmered with love and hospitality extended to complete strangers. She made my day. I hope I made her day as well.

Today I am thankful for little moments of hope and light and hospitality. I wonder which one of us was the angel? ~ Anne  

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