I didn't use to.
I don't believe my parents did either, although growing up we stayed more in fishing lodges rather than hotels.
But things change. You become educated about the working conditions of the housekeeping staff in hotels and motels. The more you travel your perspective expands.
Housekeepers are on their feet all day with multiple rooms to clean. Lift heavy mattresses to change sheets, scrub tubs and showers, wipe the toothpaste splattered all over the sinks and mirrors. I gag when I think of the toilets. Vacuum. Tidy up your mess.
My lower back hurts just thinking about this.
All for very little pay.
Do you greet them "good morning" when you pass by in the hallway while they are pushing those heavy carts laden with shampoos, soaps and cleaning supplies?
Make eye contact?
They are the unsung heroes within the hotel walls.
Walking into a sparkling clean hotel room with a crisply made bed, an abundance of rich, fluffy white towels and spa-like herbal toiletries simply makes my heart flutter with happiness. Nirvana is a king-sized bed and blackout shades. Boy, I'll sleep good tonight.
And I appreciate the housekeeper that made that all possible.
So I tip.
I tipped only at "fancy" hotels at first. Why would you tip at a Days Inn?
But then a second-grade student once shared a story with me about his mom. She was a housekeeper at the local Holiday Inn. A group had left behind a disgraceful mess full of empty bottles, food, garbage, stains, filth and mayhem. What slobs. It took her half the day to clean and sanitize the room up to standards for the next guest.
He was so distraught about his mom and how hard she worked. At the end of his story he remarked, "They didn't even leave her a tip."
The housekeepers at the Holiday Inn are just as hard working and deserving of a tip as those at a nice resort. Perhaps more so.
So I tip at every place I rest my weary head.
I stack the used towels on the tub. Hang up my clothes. Recycle my newspaper. Throw my cardboard coffee cup in the wastebasket.
Wipe down the mirror for toothpaste sprays and leave the room presentable.
I try to make their job a bit easier because I haven't a clue what's behind the door of Room 214 across the hall.
I am a guest in a hotel. So I behave like one.
Travel guides suggest you leave a tip daily because the staff can change from day to day. $2.00 to $5.00 per day. Add more for extra guests. Whatever you can afford. Be sure to write a note of thanks on the hotel note pad so the housekeeper will know it's for her and not your private stash strewn on the bedside table.
You order a drink at the bar and leave a few bucks for the server who spent all of one minute pouring your glass of chardonnay. You tip the bellman for storing your luggage for a late checkout. You tip the doorman for hailing you a taxi.
So be a nice guy and leave a tip for the housekeeper the next time you stay in a hotel. Or motel.
You probably will never have any contact with her, but she will appreciate the gesture.
Because doing the right thing, just because it's the right thing to do, with no acknowledgement expected, is the true definition of gratitude.
Thank you, ladies. The squishy pillows and down comforter made for a perfect night of sleep. My hair smells like bergamot and lime and the in-room coffee was downright tasty.
Now go home and put your feet up. You've earned it.
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