5 by 5 Rule

Random conversations happen most often with business travelers at the hotel bar. For the most part anyway. So I grab a seat at the bar and order a glass of wine, like any sophisticated business women would and get my laptop out pretending I’m still working at 8:00 pm ET. Now I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but when the person sitting next to you at the hotel bar is talking loudly on his cell phone, you can’t help it.

I hear the conversation and quickly pick up on the fact that the father (sitting next to me in a hotel bar) is talking to his son (who is at home) and yelling at him for apparently not brushing his teeth before bed. It goes on and on and on & he’s yelling louder and louder at the child. This Dad who isn’t home, clearly trying to discipline his child from the road. Now I’m feeling sorry for the child, who is crying in the background. Now the Dad is going on about not brushing your teeth, and telling your Mom you did brush but you really didn’t and it’s such this horrible tragedy that you lied about it to your Mom. This conversation goes on for 45 minutes at least.

Finally the Dad hangs up the phone, orders another drink at the hotel bar. I wait a few minutes debating whether I should say something or not, but finally can’t help myself.

Me: It’s tough…being a parent on the road.

Him: Sorry, was I talking too loud?

Me: Well I’m sitting right next to you, so I couldn’t help it overhear. Do you travel a lot?

Him: Yes, I’m on the road 4 nights a week. By the way, I hate it. FYI…we all hate it.

Me: That’s really tough, especially since you obviously have young kids at home. I don’t mean to pry….but I’ve been traveling for business almost 20 years and all I can say is at some point, you have to give up trying to be the disciplinarian from the road. It doesn’t work. All it does, is make you look like the bad guy.

Him: Wow, finally someone who understands.  Yes, that’s how I feel.  As soon as my wife gets frustrated she calls and makes me the bad guy. Tells the kids “just wait until your dad gets home.”  I don’t know what to do, I’m so frustrated, I can’t deal with this and my job too.

Me: No offense but you gave up the right to call the shots at home, when you took a job that has you on the road 4 nights a week. And shame on your wife if she puts you in the position to “be the bad guy” all the time. How old is your Son?

Him: 9

Me: It was about brushing his teeth right?

Him: Yes

Me: Can I share something with you?

Him: Sure

I pull up this quote on my phone and show it to him.


Him: Wow, that’s good. That’s really good. Can I take a picture of that?

Me: Of course.  Remember, he’s 9.  There are so many other things down the road that will be so much more important.  Choose your battles, and let them be kids along the way too! Don’t forget what it was like when you were 9 years old.

Him: Thank you, I really needed that.

I’ll never encounter that person again in my life, I wouldn’t remember him if I did. But I like to think that our random conversation at the hotel bar, made a difference. If even for that brief moment in time.

#everythinghappensforareason #businesstravel

Published by Conversations with Carli

Just me...trying to live life one day at a time!!

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