Betting on Cally

Flying from East to West is the closest I’ll ever get to experiencing magic. I never have enough time to do everything I want to do, so when I can jump on a plane at 7:30pm in Chicago and be asleep in my hotel in Phoenix by 10:30pm it’s like I’m Hermione Granger with a time turner. I focus on the magic trick and ignore my body, no matter how exhausted I am from reality. Look at the clock, woman, it’s only 10:30pm.

So, when I checked into my hotel room and noticed the short handwritten note from my housekeeper, I didn’t think too much of it. I went to bed and got up and went to work. Normal day, normal stuff.

But, when I got back to my room after work that day I noticed there was a new note. It was from the same person, but longer. More insistent that if there was anything I needed just to let her know. Her name was Cally and she signed it with a smiley face. There was something so appealing about it that I had to respond, jotting a quick note at the bottom of the page. I posted a picture of the note and my response on my personal social media page — I said that although it was possible that writing notes like that was a management mandate, I didn’t think that was driving Cally. There was something about her sincerity that came through her words and that fun smiley face.

I posted that I was betting on Cally. That it was a “betting on Cally” kind of day.

Throughout the day, I thought about Cally. My brother got a job cleaning hotel rooms one summer and it was such a grueling job he quit after a day. I know it is hard work and I found myself thinking about the character of a woman who would take the time out of that job to hand write a note. I wondered if my brief comment would elicit a response. And then I worried about something I hadn’t considered: what if today was her day off?

I shouldn’t have worried. I came back that night to a new note. She thanked me (two exclaimation points), told me she was happy I was comfortable and to have a super stay. She signed it with her signature smiley face.

The next morning, I left Cally a longer note. I had decided to stay in the hotel one more night instead of moving closer to the airport and I asked, jokingly, if she would make sure they didn’t throw out my stuff. When I got back that night they had deactivated my room key, but I had all the faith in the world in Cally. After getting my key re-activated I opened my door and walked to the bedside table. There it was:

Hi… I want to thank you for writing back to me! I want my guest to feel welcomed and enjoy staying with us when away from home. I wouldn’t let them throw away your belongings. Glad to see you stayed another night. Thanks again!

It wasn’t an easy week, I worked too many hours and had some hard conversations. I hadn’t been clear about how long I would be gone and when we talked my husband was disappointed he wouldn’t see me until after work on Friday. I lost a blog post because of connectivity. Nothing crazy, but there were a few moments when I was struggling with keeping everything in perspective and staying focused on what I could do instead of dwelling on what I couldn’t. And the truth is that those notes, brief and unremarkable perhaps, helped. They made me smile and cheered me on. Cally reminded me I wasn’t alone.

I woke up today at 3:00am to head back to the airport. I was tired and rushing but I took a moment to write one more note to Cally. I thanked her for making it easier for a working mom to be away from her family. I did something I’ve never done — I told her I write a blog and that I would likely reflect on her kindness in a post. I gave her the website. It’s anyone’s guess whether she will look it up and if she does whether she will feel as appreciative reading these words as I am writing them.

But I’m betting on Cally. It’s a “betting on Cally” kind of day.

Published by


Middle-aged business exec who had aspirations of being a writer someday. I believe that lifting people up through authentic and vulnerable storytelling creates connection and possibility. My story may not be the most inspiring, but it is the one I know the best and have the right to share.

17 thoughts on “Betting on Cally”

  1. Hello Mel,
    You are so sweet!!!! Thank you so very much. Your kind words made me realize that my notes are making a difference.
    So many people just throw them away and never notice the small things I do that are not even required of me. Like my notes and organizing condiments. You did and I truly appreciate this blog! I have been going through a lot and you have no idea how warm you made my heart when I saw your note in the room today. And after reading this blog. I know that God sent me an angel. Thank You Mel. Have a fun and safe Labor Day!! Your new friend Cally Mann

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cally — Thank you for all you do. I am so glad I had a way to share my experience and thanks in a way you and others could see. Keep being your wonderful self. You make a difference in the world.


      1. Mel,
        I hope you had a good day. I went to work today in the best spirits ever all because of you!
        I always try to put a special touch in each and every one of my rooms. Today I tried even harder than before.
        I hope you and your family have a great Labor Day.
        😊. Cally

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cally, joy in your heart is a gift. I hope that you have a day to relax and recharge especially during a long weekend dedicated to celebrating labor. My family and I are very well, thank-you for your kind thoughts. ☺️


  2. Cally this is awesome! Mel I would like you to know, this is a Cally thing, this is not required by management at all. Cally truely does care about her work and her guests. She is definetly one amazing lady!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you ..I am Cally’s husband and one thing you can do is count on her…she was very excited to read and share your blog with our family..THX for making her smile

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike – Thanks so much for commenting. If you browse my blog you’ll see that my husband is a huge part of my life. Hearing from you that this impacted Cally is great. Have a wonderful weekend.


  4. Mel – This was such a wonderful blog. Well written. Cally you sound like a sweet wonderful person, one I would want to know. If more people were like you two the world would be a better place!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mel, thanks so much for taking the time to share your wonderful experience with Cally, one of our outstanding team members at my hotel! She shared with my your Blog, which brought tears of pride and happiness to my eyes… And then I promptly shared on Facebook, and have asked that it get shared on our Courtyard and other corporate pages for other people in our Marriott world to see, how one small gesture can make a world of difference.

    You are right, while we don’t require our associates to write notes, we have shared with our staff what a difference it makes, and your Blog proves the point!

    Sincerely, and with much gratitude,

    Gary Lueck
    General Manager
    Courtyard by Marriott Phoenix-Chandler

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Experiences like this are what makes working in Hospitality worthwhile. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with the rest of us!

    Assistant General Manager
    Courtyard Alpharetta
    Alpharetta, GA

    Liked by 1 person

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