An innkeeper was attending to the front desk of his small town establishment early one evening when a frantic young couple, a man and woman in their twenties, rushed in saying, “We desperately need a place to stay for the night but we don’t have much money. We were not planning to stop here but our car broke down as we were driving to the next state over to visit our sick aunt. We are stuck here until tomorrow which is the soonest they can get a replacement water pump here to fix our car. Do you have any rooms and how much are they?” The innkeeper appraises this young couple in their twenties who seem to be modestly appointed and says, “The least expensive rooms usually go for $80 a night.” The couple looks visibly disappointed and pauses to look at the dejection in each other’s eyes before the young man turns to say, “That would really be too much of a stretch for us because we are going to be near tapped out on the car repair; is there anything your can do?”
The innkeeper takes a moment to contemplate. He knows he has three rooms available the honeymoon suite upstairs that usually goes for $200 per night, the grand estate room with a view of the lake that goes for $150 per night and one of his bottom floor rooms that goes for $80. The innkeeper is preconditioned to be generous: He spent his teen years in foster care and was put out on the streets to fend for himself on the day he turned 18. He can remember some nights in his twenties when he had to go begging to sleep on a friend’s couch for a day or two because he was between jobs and between places to stay. It is easy for him to see himself in these young people. Then again he can also remember that he has a mortgage of $8000 a month on this Inn and he needs to meet payroll for three employees so he needs to maximize occupancy of his 15 rooms during tourist season. The only reason he is not fully booked is because it is only the start of tourist season. Still it is early evening on a Thursday night and chances are that guests might wander in without reservations. He knows the grand estate room and the honeymoon suite booked for the weekend starting Friday night and there is a good chance someone spending the night in town will want the bottom floor room on Saturday night.
He does not let himself get lost in the economic equations and turns to the couple and offers, “I can give you the manager’s special of one of our bottom floor rooms for $35 for the night but you will have to be out by noon tomorrow. The couple is smart enough to realize that he has just offered them a room rate at a well maintained surprisingly luxurious country inn with scenic views that matches the nightly rate at a truck stop motel. They thank him profusely for his kindness.
Being a good innkeeper of your mind means as much as possible keeping the big important rooms occupied with profitable thoughts. I remember a sign I once saw that said, “All of our guest make us happy, some by coming and others by going?”
- The Apples Bed and Breakfast Inn big Bear, CA is pictured but this article does not represent events or people there. Click link to see actual room rates and availability.
- For stories of how the author moved past his childhood trauma to live victoriously in the present read Days of Elijah or The Asha Chronicles