Perhaps you know this about me already, but I love to bake.
Cupcakes to be exact.
I rarely make the same cupcake twice, because most of my enjoyment comes from finding and trying new flavor combinations.
If I have 2 days off in a row, you can almost bet that I’ll be trying a new cupcake.
Because I bake so often, and because my family doesn’t need dozens of cupcakes sitting around the house, I will often bring at least half of them to work.
I mostly share them with the front office staff – the desk agents, the sales office, the managers. But I’ve been known to bring in some specifically for the housekeeping staff and the kitchen staff. I usually hold one back for Salim as well.
They’re all very complimentary and are excited to try new flavors. Often I think they’re just being nice, but occasionally I believe what they’re saying.
I call them my guinea pigs.
Yesterday, one of my managers gave me a card. It was filled with little notes of appreciation for bringing in my cupcakes for all to share.
Each manager had signed it personally, and I was honored that they would take the time to write me a little note of thanks.
Today, I thanked my General Manager for the card. She looked at me in surprise. “Oh… they gave it to you already?”
I nodded. A little confused.
She stuttered a little bit and then confessed that she wanted to put ‘a little something in it’ for me.
I immediately told her that wasn’t necessary. I bake because I enjoy it. But thank you for the gesture.
At the end of the day, she met me at the time clock with an outstretched hand. I reluctantly took it, letting her know again that it wasn’t necessary, that I just really enjoy sharing. But she insisted. So I thanked her sincerely and headed to my car.
It wasn’t until I was alone that I looked at what she had given me.
I almost felt sick.
I definitely don’t bring them in with an expectation for something in return. I’m not providing a service for them. I bring them in because I don’t want them all sitting at home!
I feel awful for taking $70 for them!
I called my hubby immediately. He seems to think that I should accept it for what it is. Appreciation for bringing in treats.
But I still feel guilty about it.
Then I began thinking about what our front desk staff did for our favorite taxi driver, Salim.
A couple of months ago I mentioned that I would like to give back to Salim. He is a very honorable man, who works hard for his family. He treats our guests extremely well, and we know if we send our guests with him, that he can be trusted to take care of them.
Anytime we call Salim for an airport run, he gives that particular desk agent $5. There are days that he will give me $20, $30 at a time. He does this to show his appreciation for calling him first for the run.
He doesn’t know that we would do that anyway.
He has given us sooo much money, yet I know that he’s the one that can use it. He has five teenage kids, a wife who stays home, and he’s a cab driver, working long hours to pay the bills.
The desk agents jumped at the chance to give back to him. We started a fund and collected $250 that we used to purchase gas cards.
I presented these to him a few weeks ago.
His reaction brought tears to my eyes. He literally laid his head down on the counter and was silent for many minutes.
When he raised up, he explained to us that of all the people he has ever helped… family or otherwise, we are the only ones to have given anything back to him. He was obviously moved and incredibly thankful. He repeated the words “thanks so much” over and over again in his sweet little accent.
I wonder now if he felt like I do. It’s nice to be appreciated, but it’s difficult to accept a gift. I wonder if he actually used the cards himself, or if he gave them to someone he felt needed it more. He’s that type of guy.
My instinct is to take the money she gave me, and purchase tons of cupcake liners and ingredients to make cupcakes for all the employees.
I think that would help ease the guilt I feel for taking money.
What would you all do?