A Very Bear-able Service

, , , , | Hopeless | June 5, 2019

(I am staying at a large — several hundred rooms — four-star hotel in central Berlin, co-organising a congress for over 800 people. Our crew, including technicians, artists, and the like, could very well be sixty-something people. We almost take over the entire hotel for four days because we have rented all of the conference rooms, and our boss has requested that we get breakfast served earlier than usual — 5:30 — so that we can get to work early preparing everything. Needless to say, we are known. I am twenty-five at the time. I’m my boss’s second-in-command, a translator and interpreter in a foreign country working for a crew that does not know the local language. Through this, I get to know almost all of the hotel staff and I am very much known, too, because whenever something needs doing or taking care of, I am the one to contact anybody else in the hotel, and vice-versa; whenever anyone from the hotel wants anything from us, they come to me. This is the last day, it’s three or four am, the congress is almost over, and the people are just dancing in the main congress hall. I see my boss asleep at the sound mixing table, so I figured I’m permitted to hit the sack myself. I take the long elevator ride and walk up to my room, only to find that my key card is not working. I find my way down to the reception. Mind you, it’s been a very long few days.)

Me: *very tired* “Hello. My card seems to not be working anymore. Could you recode it for me?”

Clerk: *definitely older than my father* “Certainly. What is your room number?”

Me: “Room [number].”

Clerk: “Here you go. Can I get you anything?”

(I pause. At first, I don’t say anything; I don’t move because I am so very tired. The clerk is very, very polite with me. I notice a shelf with memorabilia from Berlin. As is the usual case with hotels, they are all VERY pricey. I notice a small teddy bear costing 32 Euros, which is a small fortune for me at the time, but I want to bring home something nice.)

Me: “Yes. Could I see that little bear, please?”

Clerk: *hands me the bear* “Here you are.”

Me: *looking at the bear, then slowly* “I will take it. Please sell it to me. I will pay cash.”

(The clerk takes the teddy bear from my hands, looks at it, and looks at me, and I don’t know why, but he says:)

Clerk: “I’m giving it to you as a gift.”

Me: *almost too tired to be surprised* “Really? Thank you very much, sir. Have a good night.”

(I walked off, very much stunned. The staff at this hotel were always very, very helpful. I felt the clerk took pity on me because I was so beat up, and he really didn’t have to make that gesture, but he did.)

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