She was standing, better, lingering in a focused hover over the coffee bar in the hotel where I spent two nights in Seattle recently.
It took me a moment before I realized that she was homeless.
The grime of the street worked out of her pores.
I noted abrasions on her hands.
Fatigue lined her face.
Her bright red lipstick dominated her face, outlining her easy, but tired smile.
She maintained a dignified, but rumpled look.
She was extremely deliberate in preparing her morning drink. She took her time, preparing the coffee in the positive environment where she obviously felt comfortable and welcome.
“Why is it that the older you get the faster time seems to fly by?” she asked no one in particular.
I answered, “I don’t know, but it is true. Maybe we just become more aware with age!”
“Weird, huh?” she concluded.
She finished her fixing her coffee, as I began to prepare mine.
She picked up her bag, waved to all present in the lobby and said, “I hope you all have a grand day!” And she was gone into her day.
The hotel staff at the registration desk seemed neither to notice nor to mind that she had invaded the hotel’s private and commercial space to pick up a cup of coffee.
For some reason I can’t get this experience out of my mind.
I realize it is just one incident. It is anecdotal from start to finish, no serious or exhaustive research here.
But, I will always believe that what I observed in that hotel lobby provides commentary on the “soul” of the city we refer to as Seattle.
I can’t help but wonder what this woman’s experience would be in a downtown hotel here in Dallas.
I’m sorry to say, I don’t think she would fare as well in our proud city of big churches, faithful people and dynamic businesses.
As big as we are here, at times I get the feeling we just don't have enough space for this sort of ordinary kindness and mutual respect.
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