Kindness matters

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 2, 2016

Day after day my alarm clock awakens me, and I roll out of bed.

The mornings of leisurely enjoying coffee in my robe and slippers seem like a distant memory.  How funny that I have been helping out at a B&B just a few weeks, and it feels like much longer.

At first, I frantically rushed around the kitchen intent on getting breakfast ready on time.  Settling into the routine and learning the ropes of running a kitchen has been challenging and fun.  My biggest hurdle was learning to have the food all come out at once, but I’m getting the hang of it.

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One morning I hummed to myself and smiled while calmly preparing breakfast.  To my chagrin a guest arrived in the kitchen early.  Feeling a little put out that someone would encroach upon my privacy so soon I swallowed any annoyance and chatted with the guest.

Breakfast is served at 8:30 so a 7:00 visitor to the kitchen distracted me from my work.  My determination to remain calm and friendly even though I would have preferred the kitchen to myself served me well.  

“Hi, I’m George.  Do you have any coffee ready?”

“Hi, George.  I’m Jan, and the coffee just finished brewing.  Help yourself.”

Things were going pretty well until the small talk turned to careers.  

I felt the telltale blush of color rise to my cheeks and my heart beat increase when George casually remarked, “I’ve been waiting to see the kitchen.  I teach culinary arts and own a small restaurant. Where did you train?”  

I gulped, bit my lip and managed to squeak out, “I trained at home with my three kids and here for a few days before the owner headed out for Scotland.”

Turns out George was just a regular guy.  

He complemented me on the way I was handling the job and headed back to his room to let me finish breakfast.  

George and his wife stayed a few days, and the more I was around them the less intimidated I felt.  

I’m sure a culinary arts teacher could have been critical of my skills, but instead he encouraged me.  

George’s kindness did wonders for my confidence.  Kindness matters.

By Jan Penton Miller