9/11 Perceptions

Posted on September 14, 2011

Ten years ago this week I found myself stranded in Baltimore, Maryland. On Tuesday morning, September 11, I had just checked out of my hotel to return home from a consulting engagement. Instead, I found myself alone watching the events unfold and trying desperately to get back to family in Colorado. No hotel would take me since they didn’t know what guests would be arriving or staying. By noon that day, the organization for which I was consulting was empty. They graciously opened their doors for the week, but the halls remained empty.

My perceptions of that week are not on the tragedy unfolding in New York: The Pentagon explosion was the story that hit closer to the Charm City. But all was a blur as I tried to find lodging or transportation. Finally, I secured a room at the Days Inn by the Inner Harbor. And I cannot thank them enough for all they did.

As the enormity of the terrorist situation became clearer, my shock and desperation increased, as did my intensity to find a way home. By Thursday I had a plane ticket in hand only to find out the airports were still closed. While the world was holding on to family and grieving within communities, I was holed up between the hotel and the organization crying alone. The hotel staff stepped up and did everything possible to make my confinement bearable – a suite, a food basket, free calls and food and internet and extras galore. A manager that checked on me.

While this insignificant tale is naught compared to the true tragedy, loss and bonding people went through that week, it reminded me of how small acts of kindness really make a lasting impression. A decade later, the Days Inn brand is still a champion to me because of the perceptions I formed that week.

RECIPE OF THE MONTH: No recipe this week. Go eat some good-for-you, comforting chocolate.

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