As clichéd as it may sound it’s still true – little things do mean a lot.
For a Father’s Day long-weekend, my son Michael and I decided to take my 7-year-old grandson, Owen, on a 3-generation baseball game tour to 3 cities – Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia where we would get to see the Nationals, the Orioles, and the Phillies play, as well as visit a few local attractions.
In Baltimore, we were staying at the Renaissance Hotel in the Inner Harbor section of the city.
While Michael was checking in, Owen and I were approached by Gary Shivers, a bell
man with the reception department.
“Hey Little Man,” Gary asked, bending down to address Owen. ‘What are you doing here?”
I explained that Owen was accompanying my son and me on a baseball tour.
“Wait here. I’ll be right back,” Shivers said.
He returned holding something in his hands.
“This is for you,” Gary said, presenting Owen with a new baseball. “Now when you go to the game, get there by 5. Then you can probably get some autographs. And listen … call me Uncle Gary. If you need anything while you’re here, just ask for Uncle Gary”.
We thanked Uncle Gary and headed for the elevator, Owen clutching his new baseball in his hand.
Now over the course of our 5-day trip, we saw a game where the home team came from behind to win in the 11th inning and a total of 9 home runs. We saw the animals in the National Zoo and the water and sea life in the Baltimore Aquarium. We visited my alma mater Villanova University and ran up the Rocky steps in Philadelphia. We bought all kinds of souvenirs and ate half-smokes in DC, crab cakes in Baltimore, and cheese steaks in Philly.
But I have the feeling that when Owen looks back over the trip in the years to come, he’ll also remember the way he was received at the Renaissance Hotel.
And I know that if anyone ever asks me where to stay in Baltimore, I’ll tell them to stay at the Renaissance in Inner Harbor. It’s the least I can do for the place that hired Uncle Gary, a kindly bell man who placed a big grin on the face of the most important 7-year-old in the world to me.