“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
I expected a tough goodbye when I let go of one-third of our family in a day—our only child was leaving our Minnesota home for college in Connecticut.
Together, my husband, daughter, and I flew to Hartford. Significant hours, energy, and credit card swipes later, the requisite Bed, Bath, & Beyond acquisitions were procured.
We headed to the Mystic Marriott, a hotel close to campus, and checked in. Our room was complete with a king sized bed and a sleeper sofa that would accommodate Liza for the night. My husband called the front desk to request sheets for her pullout bed.
Soon after, a woman in her mid-fifties appeared with golden blonde roller-curled hair, a black and white uniform, and a cheerful nature. We bantered and told her Liza was going to be a nearby college student, while she pulled out the bed, and spread the sheets.
A southern accent matched her hospitality.
“Well congratulations, honey. You will love it! Your campus is beautiful, and the area…just wonderful. I am from Texas, and I love it here.”
She oozed sweet charm and coated Liza with it like sticky syrup.
“You ever need anything hon, my name is Dolores. But you just call me Tootie. I go by Tootie.”
“Thanks, Tootie?” Liza said with hesitation.
“I mean it sweetie. You want to go out to dinner you just give me a call. We can go to the Aquarium if you like, or I can show you around Mystic. Here’s what I’ll do, just write my number down for you right here.”
She scribbled her information on the hotel notepad.
It struck me, as she was writing down her number, Tootie, our newfound Marriott friend, was going to be living closer to Liza than Dirk and me. This is really happening, I thought. My daughter is a young adult and is launching into her college life, without us. The three of us flew from Minnesota to Connecticut, and only two of us would return home. What type of world awaits her?
As Tootie handed the paper to Liza, she insisted, “You hold on to this, Liza. We’ll have fun. You call me now!”
The sofa bed was made, and I thanked Tootie for being so sweet. I gave a sideways glance to Liza.
Liza looked at me with confusion, as her eyes seemed to express,
“Why is she so nice to me?”
“Oh you’re welcome,” Tootie said. “I like to be nice. I have two college boys, and I miss ‘em. I figure if I am nice to some young people, some others will be nice to my boys.”
That melted me. I empathized and thought, wow, I am becoming a mom like her, with a grown child that will live far away from home. From Liza’s perspective, the whole scene was a tad strange, and I admit, it was unlikely that Tootie was destined to be her new best friend, yet I appreciated her intentions and approach to good Karma.
The big drop-off and move-in were set for the following morning at 10:00 a.m., and I wondered about all the additional people ahead that Liza would meet.
Who would be kind to her? Who would be mean to her? Who would inspire her? Who would exasperate her? Who would like her, love her, hate her, hurt her?
As we stood there in that Marriott hotel room, I breathed a little easier, knowing that there are people like Tootie in this world, people who realize and demonstrate that kindness is like a boomerang—when you toss it out towards others, it comes back.