Generosity Pays Off

Would you please occupy my room for the night?

One stormy night many years ago, an elderly man and his wife entered the lobby of a small hotel in Philadelphia. Trying to get out of the rain, the couple approached the front desk hoping to get some shelter for the night. "Could you possibly give us a room here?" the husband asked. The clerk, a friendly man with a winning smile, looked at the couple and explained that there were three conventions in town. "All of our rooms are taken," the clerk said. "But I can't send a nice couple like you out into the rain at one o'clock in the morning. Would you perhaps be willing to sleep in my room? It's not exactly a suite, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night." When the couple declined, the young man pressed on. "Don't worry about me; I'll make out just fine," the clerk told them. So the couple agreed. As he paid his bill the next morning, the elderly man said to the clerk, "You are the kind of manager who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I will build one for you." The clerk looked at them and smiled. The three of them had a good laugh. As they drove away, the elderly couple agreed that the helpful clerk was indeed exceptional, as finding people who are both friendly and helpful isn't easy. Two years passed. The clerk had almost forgotten the incident when he received a letter. It was from the old man, who recalled in it that stormy night and enclosed a round-trip ticket to New York so the young man could pay them a visit. The old man met him in New York. He then pointed to a great new building there, a palace of reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers thrusting up to the sky. "That," said the older man, "is the hotel I have just built for you to manage.” “You must be joking," the young man said. "I can assure you I am not," said the older man, a sly smile playing around his mouth. The older man's name was William Waldorf Astor, and the magnificent structure was the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, one of the world's most glamorous hotels. The young clerk who became its first manager was George C. Boldt. Here is a striking proof of what Jesus tells us in today’s gospel, “If a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it produces much fruit.” Young George Boldt buried his own comfort and convenience by giving up his room. His sacrifice sprouted and brought forth the reward of becoming the manager of the most outstanding hotels in the world.