As I write this, I am sitting in a coffee shop at Hyatt Regency in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. It’s a really nice hotel. I especially like the design of the lobby area which is expansive and artistic with multi-coloured wooden pieces, potted plants, and water fountains. On the outside, it overlooks the port and you can see ships docked right in the India Ocean. But there is another beauty that popped in my view about three hours ago. A young couple possibly in their late 20s was heading out of the hotel. They had been sitted in the gardens and had to enter the main hotel again through the coffee shop where I was sitting before moving out.
The lady gently opened the door and the husband entered. It was a little strange to me since I am used to the idea that it’s the guy who should open the door for the lady. Call me traditional but that’s me. Anyhow, it shook me to the core that I had to beckon the couple to stop and ‘explain to me’. I kept a warm smile while greeting them and then asked; “Hey, forgive the interruption but I really wanted to know. Typically, to my knowledge, it’s the guy who should open the door for the lady but I noticed it was the other way around. Is it the culture here in Tanzania”? They both laughed and then the lady quickly chipped in to say that her husband usually opens the door. The gentleman explained that once in a while his wife returns the favour. I discovered that where as they live in Tanzania, they are actually from Rwanda.
We chatted a bit and then I turned to the gentleman and I said, “Can I ask you a favour?” “Yes,” he responded. “When you are going out, can you be the one to open the door?” He nodded in agreement while laughing at the same time. The wife followed along with a grin. And I added, “Oh, by the way, I will be keeping an eye on you. Should you fail to keep the promise, I will alert security”. Off they went holding each other’s waists. Sure enough, I kept an eye on them. What happened? The gentleman opened the two exit doors. I am sure the wife was smiling ear to ear. And who knows what happened when they got home.
Lesson? Sometimes it’s little interventions like these that can add a smile on someone’s face. Call it a bit of spice. At that moment, I was curious and playful. I confronted the situation from the place of my personal belief respectfully. I spoke my truth in a nice way. I added value to their evening. Be on the lookout, you might surprisingly get someone smiling with your intervention. Remember, the more people you help become happier, the happier you will become. Who is that person that you will help smile?