I've been doing a fair bit of travel these past few months and that has meant staying in hotels. Because I read Elaine Viets book MURDER WITH RESERVATIONS I knew hotel guests should tip the housekeeping staff.
One particular morning up in Boston at CrimeBake, I got ready then grabbed a couple small bills from my wallet so I could buy a coffee IV transfusion at Starbucks in the lobby. By the time I'd gotten my venti-mocha-no-whipped-cream- the bills were nowhere to be found. Oh crud. Fortunately the barista let me add the bill to my room charge.
When I returned to my room that afternoon, there were the bills on the bathroom vanity. Untouched. I'd obviously set them down when I was checking my halo in the mirror. They'd were right next to the fiver I'd left for the housekeeper, on a note saying "thank you housekeeping." The fiver was gone, the forgotten bills untouched.
That small act of honesty didn't so much astonish as humble me. Working for hourly wages, in a physically demanding job, the person who cleaned my room didn't make the 'mistake' of thinking all the bills were intended for the tip. I'm profoundly thankful to her for a powerful reminder that character is what you do when no one is looking.