April Jeppson: Get to know people for who they really are
Published 9:50 pm Thursday, October 17, 2019
Every Little Thing by April Jeppson
Last weekend I was working the front desk at the hotel. I know, I know, how many jobs does April have? I have a few. Anyway. I was checking guests into the hotel last weekend when LuAnn walked up to my counter.
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I had just finished checking in a few other guests so I really wasn’t looking around a ton. As she approached me I looked up, smiled and said, “Are you checking in?” It was in that moment that I realized that this lady had a full beard. Not a few rouge chin hairs, not a 5 o’clock shadow, but an actual beard. I’m not sure my husband is capable of growing something this luxurious. Hunters and hipsters everywhere would have been jealous.
As I’m checking her in, I’m wondering if maybe she’s in transition. Maybe she’s not a she at all. Then I see her ID. LuAnn is a female name. I hear her voice, also distinctly female. As I interact with her, I notice that she has beautifully styled hair. Her eye makeup is on point. Everything about this woman would state she’s a woman. She just had a beard likened to Lettie Lutz from “The Greatest Showman.”
As I hand over the papers that she needs to sign, I see her nails. They are gorgeous. It’s some kind of cateye design done in dark purples with shimmer. If you know me at all, you know that when I see something I like, I have to say it. I am notorious for interrupting people I barely know, because I need to compliment them. If I’m distracted by your cool shoes, I’ll tell you. If you’re wearing a color that really flatters your skin tone, I’ll tell you. If you’re checking in to your room for the night and your nails are amazing, I’m going to tell you. So I did.
LuAnn and I then proceeded to have a full-on conversation about nails. She talked about the process to get the cat-eye look. I talked about how I’ve seen this option at the salon, but didn’t know how long it took. She assured me it was faster than it looked and totally worth it. There was no one else waiting to check in, so I didn’t feel rushed to move her a long. We talked and shared and she smiled.
It was at that moment that I realized that she really hadn’t smiled before. When she initially walked up to my counter, she was polite but reserved. In hindsight I can see why. How many people give her odd looks? How many kids point? How many people have thought they were whispering out of earshot — only to have her hear every word? She has this wall up to protect herself, to prepare herself for the inevitable hurt that’s around the corner.
I’m sure when she’s at home with her friends who know and love her, she can relax. She can open up and be her sassy self. She’s the kind of friend I’d want to meet up with for appetizers and we’d talk and laugh. She’s the kind of friend that would lean in and tell you a secret and a few minutes later you’d both be laughing so hard a tear would be streaming down your face. She talked with her hands, her eyes would light up when she got excited and her smile was contagious.
As I hand over her room keys and tell her to have a nice stay, I mean it. She can see that my words are genuine. I really do hope she has a nice stay. I hope that she’s able to find her way to her room without anyone giving her odd looks. I hope that she’s able to enjoy breakfast in the morning without having to listen to people whisper. I really hope that someone else will be able to see beyond LuAnn’s beard and get to know her for the fun person that she is.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.