Confessions of a Boston Personal Concierge

I recently spent an afternoon volunteering at
St. Francis House in Boston, the Boston Personal Conciergelargest day shelter in New England. That day, like many times before, I was serving lunch to the homeless men and women who would stop by every day.  The weather was gloomy outside, but inside the kitchen there was nothing but love and warmth.

My confession?  I love sharing my time every week at the shelter.  It’s not a lot of time, but I somehow manage to squeeze it all in.  Food has the ability to bring people together.  It’s also not glamorous work either: the kitchen is hot, food sometimes gets splashed on my clothes, and the guests are not always patient.  Despite it all, serving others is the most humbling experience.  Having been a volunteer for so long, in my opinion, has helped me become a better service provider to my clients.  It’s all about having connections with people.

There’s something magical that comes with the simple act of offering a warm meal to someone who has no place to call home but the streets.  It comes in the form of deep gratitude, thankful to be spared from another day of hunger.  It comes in the form of smiles exchanged – that even when times are tough and the streets are mean, being greeted with respect and treated with dignity makes all the difference in the world.  My guests even like to call me ‘Smiley’!

I especially look forward to talking and interacting with every guest who walks up to retrieve a tray of food off my hands.  Our conversations may be brief, but it’s enough for someone who just walked in from the streets.  I enjoy hearing about each guest’s day.  I rejoice when I hear of their achievements, such as overcoming alcoholism or substance abuse.  And I feel their sorrow when I hear about their troubles and life difficulties.

Modern science concludes that strong relationships with others result in happier people.  In November’s issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, writer Gretchen Rubin states that “generous acts strengthen our bonds with others…studies show that happiness is often boosted more by providing support to other people than by receiving it.”  Bottom line is to do good in order to feel good.

As a service provider, we approach our work much the same way as a volunteer.  We value and treasure our relationship with our clients.  We listen and offer our support.  A concierge service offers the highest level of service and does whatever it takes to completely satisfy his or her client.  We also make a difference in people’s lives: we assist with giving people back their precious hours and we genuinely care about people’s well-being.  That indeed feels good.

Image credit:  Susan Ho