Humility in a Hotel Entrance

Humility is a word we hear a lot about, but do we really understand what it is? I don’t believe I did until one morning years ago when I saw humility in a hotel entrance. I was sitting in the entrance of the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City. From my soft chair I observed with great interest the comings and goings of people through the front door of the hotel. The longer I sat there, the more crowded the entrance became. People were moving in and out, bumping into each other in their haste, then exchanging irritated glances as they hurried on. I couldn’t help thinking how unconcerned we are for others as we move about pursuing our individual goals.

The very next person who came to the door of the hotel provided a real contrast. Elder George Q. Morris of the Quorum of the Twelve, a man in his 80s, reached for the door and held it open for several minutes while others hurried through without so much as a nod of thanks. When there was no one else waiting, he walked into the entrance. He removed his hat and nearly had it knocked out of his hands by a young woman who was in too big a hurry to even notice whom she had bumped into.

I watched Elder Morris for at least six or seven minutes as he made his way across the entrance, always stepping aside for others, at the same time expressing a “Pardon me” or “Excuse me, you go first.” Several times he stopped completely while others rushed by. If people were in his way, he would wait patiently until they stepped aside or moved on without ever realizing he was waiting to get by.

I am sure there was no one in that entrance with a busier schedule or more on his mind than Elder Morris. I have thought since that it would have been more appropriate (if less true to life) had everyone stepped aside for an Apostle of the Lord.

Some of the true marks of humility—kindness, consideration for others, and an awareness of their aims and needs—are often forgotten in our involved pursuits. I have always appreciated more deeply those who manifest the little kindnesses since seeing humility in a hotel entrance.

[illustration] Illustrated by Richard Hull