Friday, July 10, 2009
Mrs. Schott - Part I
"OH NO! I don't have my passport!!"
What should have been a pleasant, relaxing moment to eat croissants and sip café crèmes in the tiny hotel dining room before a day out in sunny Paris turned into panic. My sister was frantically rifling through her bag looking for what couldn't be found. Suddenly she remembered we had stopped at the nearby Hotel InterContinental's bathroom on our way home from dinner the night before, and she had hung her little passport bag on the bathroom stall door! She lept from her chair and ran out the door "I'll be back!" leaving me and my croissant very nervous.
When she came back less than an hour later, this is what she told me.
After running the few blocks to the InterContinental, she slipped into the cool, elegant lobby and straight to the Concierge who was standing at his perch. Before she could utter a word, he said calmly with a welcoming smile, "You must be Ms. Hart, we have been expecting you."
He went on to explain that a certain Mrs. Schott had found Nancy's passport bag hanging on the bathroom stall door and delivered it to him with explicit and emphatic instructions: "Place this passport in the hotel safe, and if you do not see Ms. Hart this morning, we will contact the American Consulate to see if she has contacted them."
With relief and gratitude filling her heart, Nancy asked if he had stationery for her to write a thank you note to Mrs. Schott, a guest in the hotel. She wrote a lengthy, heartfelt message and returned to me in our tiny, shabby hotel lobby where every half minute felt like an hour to me. She held up her passport with a radiant smile.
That night, after traipsing through Paris all day up one side and down the other, our legs throbbing and our eyes drooping, we fell into bed early and slept hard. When the telephone rang suddenly at 10, with a stranger's voice telling me she was Mrs. Schott and could she please speak with Nancy, I was suddenly wide awake and handed Nancy the phone, whispering "IT'S MRS. SCHOTT!"
Next post I'll tell you what happened with Mrs. Schott. I promise it won't take me two weeks to tell the rest of the story.