Slapped at the Hotel Front Desk

The elusiveness of humility slapped me in the face while I stood at the hotel’s front desk this morning.

I left my key in the room. I’ve done it so often that I’m no longer embarrassed to pick up a new key at the front desk. “Hi, I’m Dan Rockwell. I left my key in the room.”

He smiled and asked, “What room, sir?”I told him and held up my ID. He nodded and reached for a blank key. Then, to my disappointment, he just stood there.

I think I’m patient, but I felt my body language shifting toward, “Hey guy. Get me a freakin’ key. What’s the hold up?”

It had been a three or four seconds and my patience was getting short! At that moment I looked down.

On the counter was the book I’m rereading, “Humilitas!” I was reminded – like never before – that arrogance is impatient. Looking up, I discovered the reason for the delay.

The key making machine was in use. He had a blank key in his hand. He was patiently waiting to serve the knucklehead who left his key in the room.

Arrogance is easily annoyed.

Practicing humility requires reminders.


Arrogance lurks unnoticed in the shadows. You need persistent reminders to keep humility top-of-mind. A book on the front desk reminded me.

  1. Submit to a humility partner. Discuss what humility and arrogance look like. Establish a signal. Maybe a loud throat clearing when they see subtle expressions of arrogance.
  2. Carry a book around with the word ‘humility’ in the title. You don’t even have to read it. Just look at the title.
  3. Put a sticky note on your computer monitor. “Don’t be an arrogant ass!”

What types of reminders might help you practice humility?