Moments of shyness. Even those of us who get along easily with all sorts can find themselves suddenly gripped with bouts of timidity. I had one recently. My husband and I were visiting the hotel where we got married and upon arriving, saw the familiar smiling face of the hotel door greeter, Richard. Richard is an affectionate darling of a gentleman who has been greeting guests at Disney World’s flagship resort, the Grand Floridian, for decades. When we pulled into the valet area, I squealed with delight upon sight of him. My husband urged me to go talk to him while the valet unpacked our bags. Overcome with a spell of shyness, I declined, explaining that I didn’t want to bother him because he looked busy.
Richard holds a special place in my heart. I’ve always seen him standing at the hotel entrance, making people–myself included–smile whenever they walk through the doors. Besides being polite (a given for someone in his type of position), he has an honest smile, the kind that reaches the corners of the eyes. His sweetness and his pleasant sense of humor are unforgettable. On my wedding day a few years ago, once dressed, I sat in my hotel room with my mother and sister, and we heard a knock at the door. My mom answered, and I heard some happy commotion. She turned to me smiling and said, “Le bonhomme est la!” (The nice chap is here!) Richard was standing at my door, smiling and waiting; he had come to escort me from my room and help carry my train. The wedding planner hadn’t mentioned that he would be there, so I was genuinely surprised. He helped me in the hotel lobby with my dress for the pre-ceremony photographs, and then helped me into the car that would take my father and me over to the chapel. He conversed with me the entire time. I loved that he was there, and appreciated what he added to my day.
On the last day of our recent vacation when we checked out, we waited for the valet to bring the car around. My husband reminded me, “He’s over there, go talk to him while we wait.” I noted that Richard was speaking to another hotel employee; I didn’t want to disturb them, but with a mixture of reluctance and nervous hope, decided to approach him anyway. He stopped his conversation, turned to me and smiled. I told him, “I got married here a few years ago, and you escorted me from my room to the lobby and I never forgot it, and just wanted to tell you that it was very special to me and made me so happy.” He immediately pulled me in for a tight hug, chatted with me for a while, happily obliged me by taking a couple of pictures, and basically had me smiling for the four-hour drive home.
I’ve often found myself ready to slip into shyness. I now have no doubts whatsoever that shyness is a useless quality that consistently manages to keep people from doing things that are good for them, and keeps them from interacting with others in a potentially meaningful way. The voices in your mind that babble nonsense like ‘he’s too busy,’ ‘he doesn’t care what you have to say,’ and ‘what would you say to him anyway’–they are naysayers, masking themselves less threateningly as that which we call “shyness.” They should be categorically carted off to a rocky island where they can ponder and atone for their ruinous behavior. It’s always worthwhile to tell someone that he or she is doing a good job. It’s always worthwhile to tell someone that he or she has made you happy in some way. Never let the naysayers tell you otherwise.
**Wedding photography by Christopher Patrick Photography