— travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams —

travel inspiration for small budgets and big dreams

The one thing I’ve learned to appreciate so much more as I’ve grown older is kindness. Acts of kindness, big or small, are blessings during the best of times, but it’s especially when the going gets rough — when getting through the day is like slogging through solid air — that one kind word or deed can be all that’s needed to prop up a person’s spirit.

It was through the kindness of two people — one, an old high school friend; the other, a stranger — that I enjoyed the treat of a lifetime nearly 4 years ago.

Last 2010, when a friend learned I was going to Singapore, she offered to get me a discounted room at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, a luxury I would never have sprung for otherwise. When my companion and I arrived at the hotel, mid-afternoon, we were dusty and raggedy from a day at Sentosa and we were — gasp — just walking up the driveway. The girl at the door actually asked us if she could help us with directions. (Um…no, we’re not lost, we’re actually staying here. Such as we are. Yeah.) We found a fellow Filipino at the Reception desk, and when he checked us in, he generously upgraded our room.

To a suite.

A. Suite. At the Ritz-Carlton.

Oh, no big deal, really. Just a room that had this view from the living room:

STGMT_Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore_01_Living Room View

And this view from the bedroom:

STGMT_Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore_02_Bedroom View

And this view from the conference room:

STGMT_Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore_03_Study View

Well, not a conference room exactly, just a separate room with a table and chairs:

STGMT_Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore_04_Study

Which was, of course, in addition to the writing desk in the living room, that also had a sofa, several chairs, a couple more tables, and a separate bathroom for the guest’s guests. Plus, a walk-in closet:

STGMT_Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore_05_Walk In Closet

And a bathtub that had this view:

STGMT_Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore_06_Bathtub View_1

In fact, while you’re having a bath, you can actually just lean forward a bit and watch the game:

STGMT_Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore_07_Bathtub View_2

And then, all refreshed, you can sink thereafter into the delights of this heavenly featherbed:

STGMT_Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore_08


Not bad for a dusty, raggedy traveler who walked up the driveway, huh?

The thing is: I got to spend a night at an unbelievable room that I would never, in a million years, have been able to afford, because two people decided to be kind.

I don’t want to put a monetary value on the experience but I will, to illustrate a point. This room rents out for nearly PHP50,000 a night. And yet, I got to stay there because of two acts of kindness that, when you think about it, didn’t really cost a lot. In fact, they didn’t cost anything at all, just a bit of time and effort and thoughtfulness on the part of two people wanting to give me a treat.

That’s how kindness is. Sometimes it costs so little and means so much. I’m not a kind person by nature — at least I think I’m not as kind as I probably can and should be — but when I think of how much people have done for me, I try to remind myself to pay such kindness forward.

How have people been kind to you? Share your story in the comments below.


The Cost of Kindness” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.

19 Responses

  1. Singapore is a wonderful city, and these views are breathtaking.

    I am grateful that many people have been kind to me, and when it comes to travelling and really cool once-in-a-lifetime rooms and kindness I also have a story. I went to a conference at Carberry Tower in Edinburgh, and the couple organising the conference gave me one of the largest rooms (four beds, I was travelling alone) just because they thought I’d appreciate the fact that it had been Queen Mum’s and because it was by far the nicest room.

    1. That must have been quite a treat! So nice of them to think of doing that. (And on a side note, I have been wanting to go to Scotland for the longest time, so I’m doubly jealous.) Best of luck with your plans for your publishing house. 🙂

      1. Thanks, so nice of you to wish us luck!

        We moved to Scotland for a year, and I’ve been there quite a few times – but it’s only a journey of 1000 miles, so I don’t need to cover the same distance as you 🙂

        If you ever get around to visit Scotland, please let me know. Although I am not Scottish, I know lots of breathtaking, unique and wonderful places there.

  2. True, i always include do some act of kindness whenever i travel… Not that your expecting something in return, but it’s just refreshing to do so to someone you don’t really know.

  3. Can’t compete with that one!
    But, while on honeymoon in Italy we had a few nights booked into a guest house in Monterosso, Cinque Terra.
    Once we’d checked in and sorted ourselves out we chatted with the owner, asking where we should eat that evening.
    She suggested she could book us a table at a nice seafront restaurant that she recommended, saying that she knew the owners and could get us a nnice table. Also they happened to make the best pesto in the region.
    So that evening we walked down to the seafront and found the place. The main building faced the sea and tables were arranged on an elevated terrace right over the seafront. It was busy!
    There were many people waiting for tables and to be honest we weren’t that hopeful, but when we managed to get the attention of the waiter and gave our name he smiled and ushered us away from the crowded patio, into the main building and up some stairs, through an empty dining room, up again through a smaller empty dining room and out onto a small one-table balcony, set for two complete with flowers.
    Our view was amazing, and we looked out over the patio below and felt so special, even more so when diners below looked up at us probably wondering how we had managed to get such a table.
    It was very romantic.
    So we dined on the best pesto from the best table with the best view while enjoying it all in peace with a personal service.

    Just a little gesture but it was such a lovely thing to do.

      1. They don’t though. Neither did the honeymoon, which was fantastic, nor the marriage, Sadly. But the memories do at least, though that’s not always a good thing I love Italy, and it will always be a mixture of the best memories of the best times tinged with sadness and regret. But then if anywhere is going to tug at your heartstrings it’s Italy, for me at least. It’s bursting with passion and emotion.

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