It’s 4 a.m. in San Francisco. Unable to sleep after travelling and working through nine time zones in the past four days, I went down to the front desk to extend my hotel room for another day.
The young, soft-spoken night manager handled my request. His English had a footprint that I couldn’t place.
I’m from Tibet, he told me. When the Dali Lama fled Tibet and went to India in 1959, many others followed and he took it upon himself to see that they were safe and could get a good education. My parents were among these people.
He asked me where I was from. Germany, I said.
He smiled. I have a very special relationship with Germany, he said as he placed his hand over his heart.
You see, when the Dali Lama was looking out for our people in India, he sought help wherever he could.
There was a small German woman that came to us. She made many trips to Germany to raise support and money. She became a mother to us and we have her still in our hearts, although she passed long ago. This is how I and many others got our education. It is because of her that I am here. In Tibetan, her name meant “second mother” he said.
I read his name badge. Tenzin, I asked?
Yes, this is a Tibetan name, it was given to me by the Dali Lama himself, he said proudly.
I walked away feeling touched by Tenzin’s authenticity and his gratefulness.
An unexpected story of giving, growth and gratitude.
Thank you Tenzin, night manager from Tibet.