Savannah, the manager of a booming hotel, thought she had it all figured out. She had a superiority complex not only in her role at work but also as a person. That would change after an encounter with a possible assistant manager candidate, and she would learn a thing or two about sympathy, compassion, and respect.
Savannah was a by-the-book manager of a prosperous hotel establishment. Her firm management style was efficient and was one of the reasons she was so good at her job.
However, Savannah did not know where to draw the line between being firm and cruel. She held a high standard for herself, her job, and the hotel. While the high standard helped her provide the best service in her work, it also nurtured Savannah’s tendency to look down on others.
Moreover, her patience with the staff needed a lot of work. She would fire people for the slightest fault, using her power to enact revenge on anyone she either didn’t agree with or simply believed was incompetent.
“Pathetic! Useless! Why would you even bother to apply? Waste of time! Useless!” Savannah barked as she sat at her desk, scrolling through resumes of possible candidates for the new assistant manager position that had recently opened. She had recently fired the last assistant manager and needed to find a replacement as soon as possible.
Some of the candidates were pretty decent. Although, once Savannah got a whiff of some sort of weakness, no matter how minor, she would toss the application to the side. She finally came across an applicant named Simon and was uncharacteristically impressed by his credentials. She called Simon that same day and invited him for an interview.
The next day, Savanna was conducting interviews. She had almost wrapped up for the day, with only one last interview left. She was not impressed by any of the candidates, but she had to keep her options open.
It was time for the last candidate, Simon, whom she looked forward to interviewing. As she sat at her desk reviewing Simon’s resume again, there was a knock at the door.
“Yes, Denise. You can send in the next candidate in 10 minutes,” Savannah said with her eyes still fixed on the resumes, assuming it was her subordinate, Denise, at the door.
“Well, yeah. That’s when I thought you could at least walk. All those credentials mean nothing if you can’t even get around the hotel.”
The door opened, and to Savannah’s surprise, a disabled man in a wheelchair entered the office. Savannah, hearing the sudden rattle of his wheelchair, finally looked up, stunned at the man before her.
“Sorry, are you lost?” Savannah asked in confusion.
“Hi, miss. I’m here for an interview,” the man explained.
“Wait… Are you Simon?” Savannah asked in disbelief.
“Yes, I’m Simon. Sorry, I believe I am a tad bit earlier than expected,” Simon explained.
“That’s the least of your worries,” Savannah said with a scoff, followed by a mocking chuckle. “Is this some sort of joke?” Savannah asked.
“A joke, miss? I’m not sure I follow. You called me yesterday and invited me for an interview,” Simon explained, taken aback by Savannah’s change of tone.
“Well, yeah. That’s when I thought you could at least walk. All those credentials mean nothing if you can’t even get around the hotel,” Savannah barked.
“Well, miss… I managed to get to your office earlier than expected without a problem. As you’ll see on my resume, I carry my weight. I’m more than capable,” Simon said.
“Are you insane? There’s no way I’d hire you!” Savannah said with a scoff. “You’d scare our customers away. I’m sorry, but no. I can’t hire you,” Savannah concluded.
“Please. I’m more than my disability. I believe I could add value to your—” Simon began to plead before being cut off by a frustrated Savannah.
“You are not hearing me, are you? I’m not hiring you or anybody else in a wheelchair. This hotel has standards, and unfortunately, you don’t qualify! Now please, let me get back to my work,” Savannah blatantly stated.
“Thank you for your time, miss,” Simon exclaimed dejectedly, exiting the door.
As Savannah was doing the rounds at the hotel the next day, she spotted Simon in the lobby. Annoyed at his apparent persistence, she called hotel security and approached Simon.
“This is the man. Please remove him from the premises immediately. I’ve told him—” Savannah angrily told one of the security guards before being stopped dead in her tracks as she saw the hotel owner, her boss, approach Simon and shake his hand respectively.
By the time her boss had arrived, they were only a couple of steps from Simon. Simon and the hotel owner turned to Savannah, who feigned a smile as she whispered, “Nevermind, it’s okay,” to the security guards.
One of the security guards didn’t hear Savannah and boldly called out to Simon, saying, “Excuse me, sir. Please come with us.”
“No! It’s fine. We are fine. You can go,” Savannah yelped to the security guard.
“Savannah, what seems to be the problem?” the hotel owner asked.
“Oh, it’s nothing, sir. They just wanted to make themselves useful and see how we could be of any assistance to you and your friend,” Savannah explained nervously.
“Oh, okay. Well, this is Simon. He will be taking over ownership here at the hotel. I hope you will welcome him warmly and give him the well-deserved respect as your new boss,” the hotel owner elucidated.
“Savannah? Yes, I believe we have met already,” Simon said casually, not giving off much for Savannah to work with.
“Can I get you anything, sir?” a pale Savannah asked Simon desperately.
“No, I’m okay. I’ve concluded everything I need to here. I better get going. I’d hate to scare off any customers,” Simon retorted before shaking the hotel owner’s hand again and leaving.
“Hmm… Strange parting words. But that’s Simon for you. Quite a remarkable man,” the owner said. He and Savannah stared at him walking away: the hotel owner, with great admiration, and Savannah, on the other hand, with painful regret.
A few days later, Simon had finally settled in as the hotel’s new owner. One of his first acts as the new owner was setting up a meeting with the hotel manager, Savannah.
Savannah walked up to his office in despair. This was the moment she had dreaded for the last couple of days, and the wait had only made it much more torturous. As she walked into his office, she made peace with the idea that this would indeed be her last day at work.
“Oh… Uhm… I still don’t understand what I’m doing here if you aren’t firing me.”
“Ah, Savannah. Please take a seat,” Simon said as Savannah entered, gesturing towards the seat at the other end of his large table.
“Look, sir. Before anything, I just wanted to say I’m sorry about everything. I completely understand why you’d want to fire me. I guess we are even now,” Savannah blurted out before taking a seat.
“Fire you? No, that’s not why you are here. Now, please, take a seat,” Simon repeated. Savannah nervously took a seat, perplexed at what was happening.
“Wait… So, you’re not firing me? Why? I don’t understand,” Savannah said.
“Well… I pretended to be a candidate for the assistant manager position as a sort of test to better understand the environment in the hotel,” Simon explained.
“A test?” a confused Savannah asked.
“Yes, to better understand how the hotel functions and treats people. That applies to not only guests but also employees and potential candidates,” Simon explained.
“Oh… Uhm… I still don’t understand what I’m doing here if you aren’t firing me,” Savannah said anxiously.
“I was initially planning on doing exactly that. You were rude, dismissive, judgemental, and, I might add, prejudiced. However, I think I’ve come up with a much better solution,” Simon elaborated.
“And what may that be, sir?” Savannah asked, leaning forward in avid curiosity.
“I’m demoting you,” Simon said calmly.
“Demoting me? To assistant manager?” Savannah asked.
“Nope. You’ll be in charge of making sure all special needs customers are properly catered to. You’ve had management experience, so you’re best suited to make sure our facilities and staff facilitate the disabled,” Simon explained.
“Uhm… But, sir… Don’t we already have such facilities set up?” Savannah enquired.
“Yes, but not enough for where this hotel is going in the future. I want us to host more disabled customers. And you, my dear Savannah, will be the one to facilitate that. You will be paid the equivalent of an assistant manager’s salary, but I can’t say the work will be light. So, what do you say? Do you want the job?” Simon asked.
“Yes, sir! Whatever it takes. I just want a chance to make things right. I need my job,” Savannah pleaded.
The next day, Savannah assumed her new duties. As the weeks progressed, she soon learned just how hard it was to be a person with various special needs. She had encountered many special needs clients over the weeks; however, one in particular finally made Savannah repent of her ways.
One day she helped a red-haired woman with a prosthetic leg. She spent the whole day assisting the woman, and they spent the whole day interacting. There was something about her that Savannah couldn’t put a finger on. She felt comfortable talking to the woman, and they spoke about everything. The conversation eventually led to the story of her losing her leg.
“My leg? Oh, no. I wouldn’t take it back for anything,” the woman said as they sat in the hotel lobby.
“I’m sure you don’t mean that,” Savannah said.
“No, honestly. It was a necessary sacrifice. I wouldn’t change it for anything,” the woman said with full conviction.
“Necessary sacrifice? Wait… What exactly happened?” Savannah asked.
“I used to be a firefighter. Long story short, I ran into a burning building, just doing my job. But on this particular day, it was different. I risked my life every day, but there were always precautions that made me feel safe, you know?” the woman explained.
“So what happened?” Savannah asked.
“Well, there was a group of children stuck in an apartment block not too far from here, actually. I had two options; go back home and sleep knowing I let innocent children die, or risk my life and possibly lose it knowing I wouldn’t have to be haunted by the former option. I chose the latter. Thank God I still came out with my life,” the woman explained.
“Wow… When was this?” Savannah asked.
“About three years back,” the woman casually responded.
“Wait, and you said it wasn’t too far from here? Where exactly was it?” Savannah asked in a panic, having an epiphany.
“Two blocks down, near the museum. Why?” the woman asked just as Savannah suddenly burst into tears.
“You… You saved my baby brother’s life! I remember that day. He was at a friend’s place right by the museum. One of the nearby apartments caught fire, and it spread. He told me a red-haired angel saved him. And now here I am, talking… Talking to y—” Savannah could barely finish her sentence before weeping.
“You see! It was a beautiful sacrifice indeed,” the woman said, hugging Savannah as she continued to weep on her shoulder. Just then, Simon approached them, perplexed and concerned by what he saw.
“Is everything okay?” Simon asked. Savannah immediately leaped onto Simon, hugging him tightly.
“I’m so sorry, sir. I shouldn’t have treated you the way I did. I don’t even deserve your kindness. I misjudged you. I misjudged everything. Please forgive me, Simon,” Savannah cried.
“It’s okay, Savannah. That’s exactly why I didn’t fire you. You are amazing at what you do. You just needed a little guidance and understanding. We all do,” Simon concluded as he comforted her.
After that day, Simon not only reinstated Savannah as manager, but he made her his confidant in all things pertaining to the hotel and its future. Simon took Savannah under his wing and shared his vast experience with her. Savannah even spent her time outside of work volunteering for programs catered to people with special needs.
What can we learn from this story?
Do not count someone out because of ignorance; rather, try to compassionately lead them into understanding. Simon could have easily fired Savannah for her ideas and behavior. But rather, he gave her an opportunity and platform to learn from her mistakes and misunderstandings, which ultimately made her a better employee and person in the end.
Our flaws or mistakes do not define us, but the choices we make after that do mold us. Savannah had questionable ideas about life, which strongly reflected in her behavior. However, after being given a chance by Simon, she learned and matured for the better.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.