The Makati Mandarin Oriental Hotel is well past its prime. The styling is dated, the carpets tired, and the fixtures are almost vintage. In a region where business travellers expect the best, this hotel stands out. I saw something linked to a decade that has come and gone. It hard concrete stance is bold, arrogant, and out of place. Yet, I was glad I stayed there.
This hotel reminded me that people make the difference. When individuals embrace the aspirations of a community to proactively serve with a smile, everything else becomes secondary. During my stay, every staff member modeled the corporate ideals of hospitality and service. They may not have had the best facilities, latest uniforms, or kitchens to work with, but they did have each other and their shared purpose.
It was interesting to imagine what it would be like to manage and motivate them. If I know that I was not going to get the investment monies I needed for upgrades, would I find the right words? Would I acknowledge the challenges and outline the opportunity? Somebody has. In their behaviors I hear their voice; “we’re not going to start demanding now what we’ve always had a perfect right to. Our decision all along has been to put up with anything rather than to get in the way or detract from the Message of [Service] Christ.” (1 Corinthians 9.12b)
The actions of these staff members remind me that each holds the freedom of how they will respond to any situation no matter what the circumstances might be. We decide. It is our right. It is our responsibility. We can reach for hope. We can succumb and let circumstances dominate us.
Life as we know it is not mandated by circumstances and situations. They are the canvas where we express our values and priorities. Today I want to demonstrate how compassion wins and mercy is viable. There will be opportunities to reach out to others if I start where the Makati staff began. They started with their hearts. It is an open invitation.