Nothing says “Happy Vacation!” like a room upgrade, especially when you’ve earned it by being the Special Guest of the Day.
Louise and I were headed to the Gulf Islands for a week, and spent last night in Vancouver before getting on the early ferry. This signboard awaited us in the hotel lobby, and for some reason sent me into a serious fit of giggles.
I snickered as the clerk asked my last name and I said, proudly, “Ginsberg.” I sniggered as he smiled and announced, “You’re our Special Guest of the Day!” I tittered as he handed me my room key and a welcome package consisting of an apple, an orange, and a cookie. And – when we got to our upgraded room and saw the jacuzzi in the bedroom complete with a yellow rubber ducky – I pretty much collapsed in hysterics.
I’m really not sure why it struck me so funny; there was just something about seeing my name posted incongruously in that impersonal setting that captured a delightful sense of irony and absurdity. I can still get myself going if I look at that photo again.
Anyway. This morning we got up bright and early and arrived at the ferry terminal two hours early. One of us had messed up reading the schedule. Maybe it was me, maybe not. I’ll never tell.
In any case, we sat around for about an hour and then a lightbulb went off over my head. “I know what I can do while we’re waiting!” Louise didn’t even look up from her book. “Give some money away? I’ve been waiting for you to come up with that idea!”
Hmmph. So, I’m a little slow sometimes. I left her in the coffee shop and took off “on the hunt.” A ferry had just left so the place was pretty much deserted. I decided to check out the pedestrian terminal and wandered all over the place, even peering into the windows of parked cars. (It wouldn’t be the first time that I flagged a driver down.)
Out in front of the Departures terminal was a drop-off area. One by one, I watched cars pull in with their passengers. A yellow cab discharged a well-dressed man, then a late model SUV pulled up and a couple climbed out. “Could this bag be any heavier?” snarled the man, trudging forward without even looking at his wife.
An old car pulled up next, and I told myself that if a person got out alone I would make him or her my next recipient.
It was a young woman. I watched as she got out of the car, then leaned back in one more time. I caught her photo as she waved goodbye.
She was in front of me in a few short moments and I said hello. She smiled and returned the greeting, then walked on. I almost let her get away.
“Excuse me!” I called. She turned. “Are you in a hurry? Do you have just a minute?” I asked. She did.
I told the woman I was passing along a gift and had something I wanted her to have. She listened closely, then gave a little squeak when I gave her the hundred. “Oh, no,” she said. “You don’t have to do that!” I started to explain further as she was rummaging through her purse. “I want to give you something,” she was saying. “All I have is these almonds.” She held out a little bag.
“It’s okay, really,” I said. I told her about my mom and her hard life. How she had a terrible time parting with money and I was honoring her by giving away to strangers a gift she had left me.
The woman told me she was 20 years old and her name is Kylee. “It means ‘Boomerang’ in Australia, I think.” She recently got a job at the Empress Hotel in Victoria and left home. She misses her parents a lot and tries to get home every week. But it’s a great opportunity; she went to cooking school and wants to travel the world. Her mom is from the Philippines so she’s visited there, but hasn’t been too many other places, even in Canada.
We talked for quite a while. She was lovely. She said she might use the money to replace a pair of earrings that her mother had lost. “They were her favorites. I was waiting for my next paycheck,” she said. “But now I don’t have to!”
She gave me a long hug goodbye and said, “You have amazing karma!” As she was walking away, she blew me a kiss.
Later I looked more closely at the picture of Kylee saying goodbye to her mom.
I can see why they named her Boomerang. And why they hope she always comes back.
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