A Lesson in Goodwill from a Doorman

a beautiful beach to learn a lesson in goodwill

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

A Warm Greeting

I call a recent business trip to Puerto Rico. As customary during many of my visits to the beautiful city of San Juan, I was staying at the Beach Club and Waterfront Hotel. Prior to beginning my first workday, I took a seat in the hotel’s small restaurant for a quick breakfast.  No sooner than I sat down, I looked out a window and saw the hotel doorman standing outside on the steps into the hotel, maybe 30 feet from where I was seated. We saw each other at the same moment. He smiled and waved and Eduardo, as I’d come to know him, immediately disappeared into the hotel.

Next thing I knew he was in the restaurant, big smile on his face, walking directing towards me. “Hi Mr. Allen. It is so good to see you.” A handshake was not enough. He gave me a big abrazo (warm hug), then stepped back and said, “You look so good. How are you and your family? And what brings you back to our enchanted island?”

How Could I Not Smile?

I could not help but smile at Eduardo’s goodwill as I answered him. His questions were more than token. He listened intently, eyes locked on mine.

“Thank you, Eduardo” I remember thinking as he returned to his post where he’d spend the next several hours greeting and helping guests, “for the gift of cheer and lesson in goodwill, for prompting a shift inside me from preoccupation to joy, for reminding me of what is most important today.”

Of course I had talked with Eduardo on prior occasions as I stood outside the hotel door, awaiting a car to take me to my appointments for the day. Inevitably, Eduardo would greet me with a broad, sweeping gesture and point towards the ocean. “Welcome to my office.” He’d grin and tell me how happy he was to be alive. Then he would recount the blessings of his life.

Sure he had problems. A divorce some years back; living alone; a struggling son; a lack of money to fix up his house or travel to the states. But these were minor. Where would he rather be? What would he rather be doing? The hotel employees and guests were his family. Life was beautiful.

I like to think of Eduardo. In fact, I look forward to traveling to Puerto Rico and seeing him again. He touches my heart and reminds me of what is important, especially in a new year as I reassess my priorities. He reminds me of the person I aspire to be, a humble man filled with love, goodwill, and gratitude for the abundance of life. Being with him is a lesson in goodwill.



  1. Merlin Jenson

    I was inspired by your comment, “He decided.”
    I think that is what I need to do more often. Just decide. That commitment will raise me to higher levels.

  2. Roger Allen

    Hi Merlin,

    Yes. It begins with a decision. Good things come to us when we decide.



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