This last week, some guests paid me a great kindness. Not in a showy way, but just because they're kind people. They'd seen on our website that I'm passionate about real ale, and so they brought me a bottle from the craft brewery in their village in Yorkshire. Unexpected kindness is the best sort, don't you think?
Then we got talking about music - another passion - and they asked me if I'd heard of someone they really liked. When I said no, I hadn't, she instinctively passed me her iPod and said "here, have a listen, you can give me this back tomorrow." I needed to spend a couple of hours on the road that day, and I had some new music to enjoy!
When it was time to check out, they pointed out that I'd missed their drinks off the bill. I said yes, I know, they're on me. It was hardly outrageous generosity, but I believe what goes around should come around (if it's nice). I feel sure they'll return, and we'll be glad to see them again.
In the same week I had another conversation, with a couple who had stayed in a family-based B&B whilst abroad. It seems it was more like staying with the family, who live on meagre means, and this couple had gone out of their way to spend as much money as possible with the family - by eating in, and buying wine - and were careful to tip well, too.
Late on their final evening, the hostess (who was an ex-pat English lady!) had offered them a last-night farewell drink. They didn't really want one, but it seemed rude to refuse. So they were dismayed to find it itemised on their bill the next morning. Of course, they realised that was perfectly fair - but they were left feeling used.
Now, the only thing I know about that holiday of theirs is that their hostess seemed pretty mean-spirited and ungrateful. It's a shame that is the main headline for a trip which had lots of other things to talk about. Our guest said "for that one drink, she's made sure we'll never go back." Wow, she could have made so much more by giving away that one drink! Generosity usually does perpetuate itself, one way or another.