We have the best jobs on the planet.  From the front door to the front office, back of house to boardroom, we have the ability to change the world.

Pollyanna, you say?

Hear me out.

We live in divisive times.  People dislike or fear one another based upon preconceived notions of race, religion, politics, national origin, sexual orientation and any number of other irrelevant descriptors.  Our leaders feed this division with name calling, finger pointing, blaming and shaming in ways that would not have been tolerated on the playgrounds of our youth.

But those of us who are fortunate enough to work in the hospitality industry have the opportunity to change that reality one encounter, one traveler at a time.

Consider this:

We welcome EVERYone through our doors, regardless of those arbitrary points of reference.

We see people at their best, when they are celebrating a special occasion; and at their worst, when they are experiencing personal challenges or needing shelter from a storm.

We see them when they are getting their bearings in unfamiliar territory, feeling frustrated because of the hassles of travel and sometimes when they are just plain tired.

And we offer them hospitality.  A warm smile, a familiar face, directions, a local referral, a replaced toothbrush, a comfortable place to lay their heads and start again refreshed.

From the guest’s point of view, it’s hard to imagine being afraid of the ‘other’ who is offering a cold bottle of water when its 90 degrees in the shade, or a hearty handshake and a warm good luck when you mention that you’re in town for a big sales pitch.  You can’t very well dislike the person behind the desk who said they were waiting for you, even concerned because you hadn’t arrived yet.

We can’t help but share the joy of the bride and groom checking in for their honeymoon or understand the mixed emotions of the proud parents passing the front desk in their finery.  We can share the frustration of a business traveler who’s stuck 100 miles from home because of a cancelled flight and feel the jubilation of the kids’ soccer team that beat their rivals.

In these moments, and countless others like them, we recognize and participate in each other’s humanity.

No one wakes up looking for ways to wreck someone’s day.  Most of us realized a long time ago that there is more joy in giving than in receiving.  So, in that way alone, we have opportunities each day to enrich our own lives by doing something good for someone else, and in doing that, we can open the hearts and minds of the people we encounter.

By offering hospitality, by doing what comes naturally to most of us, we get to make the world just a little bit better each day.  How cool is that?