Volunteering My Time

Photo by Hank

Photo by Hank


Hank: I would have never known you could go into a fancy hotel like this for a coffee without booking a room.

Me: I didn’t know this trick until your papa taught me many moons ago.  I love this room, I loved looking and the Christmas trees and decor in the lobby and of course the people watching stepping into a five star hotel affords.

Hank: And everyone is so nice.  They are nice like you are nice, nice like you mean it, not just pretending to be nice.

Me: It is the difference between kindness and being cordial.

Hank: Oh.

Me: One of the best jobs you can get and one I think every person should do for a time in their life is working in the hospitality industry, like in a hotel or a restaurant. You meet the best and the worst of people in the hospitality industry and having to be calm and cordial in the face of rude, ill mannered people will teach you a level of professionalism you can use in all aspects of life.

Hank: I would love to work in this hotel.

Me: Speaking of work did you have a good afternoon?

Hank: (sipping an over priced Ginger Ale) It was fun. I am always nervous, but then when I am doing the recordings, it is fun. I like working, but I am very tired now.

Me: (sipping my over priced sparkling water) That nervousness is called anticipation. Everyone, no matter how seasoned a performer or professional, gets nervous before speaking in front of people. Everyone, every single person, they just don’t talk about it.

Hank: Why don’t they?! I think it would help a lot of people to know that.

Me: Not everyone is as thoughtful as you. Some people enjoy the mystic of fearlessness.

Hank: Mom?

Me: Hum?

Hank: Thank you for volunteering your day to bring me to Porto. I heard you say that to the producer before we left Porto Editora (one of Portugal’s largest publishers where Hank sometimes works doing voiceovers and recordings for their English Language textbooks) and I hadn’t thought of it that way. You gave up your whole day for me. Thank you.

Me: (sincerely touched) You’re very welcome, Hank. Thank you for thanking me. It is very kind of you to say so, but I volunteer my time for you to do voiceover work because I love supporting you. I know it isn’t naturally easy for you to do, but the pride I feel when you punch fear in the face and do it anyway was all the thanks I needed. Until now. (tossing an arm over his shoulders)

Hank: I like working in a sound booth.

Me: And did you listen to the producer’s and the casting agent’s compliments? You were first on their call sheet for this job because you do great work. You were their top choice for today and that is something you should be very proud of.

Hank: I now understand what people say about it being hard to take a compliment, because I don’t want to believe that even though it is true. I will believe it, but my brain says they’re lying to make me feel better.

Me: They have zero reason to lie, they are not paid to lie and I don’t think either of them is the type to lie to a ten year old. Tell your irrational brain to sit down and shut up!

Hank: (sipping his ginger ale, swirling it with his fancy swizzle stick while we wait in the warm lovely bar at the Palacio das Cardosas hotel for our train, people watching out the large bay windows) I am. My brain doesn’t want to listen, but I will win.