Public Service?

Like many of you, I’ve lead a rather busy life lately.  And while I had been raised to think of others and contribute to social goodwill, over the past few years that meant less and less active service and more and more cheque writing.  In fact, every time I wrote a cheque for another worthy charity, I felt I ought to be doing more.  So, I said to myself, what about working for a not-for-profit?  That way your business skills can go towards helping a charity become even more efficient, enabling contributions to go directly towards the cause….”good idea”, I thought.

So while I looked around for the right not for profit in need of my particular area of expertise, I ended up in the B&B business.  And, after the first few weeks of helping people connect over coffee and make new friends, plan how they will spend their much needed vacation in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and generally create a welcoming atmosphere, I thought….could this be public service?

Is it trite and demeaning to compare the hospitality business with other public service such as charitable organizations and service clubs?  Or is there something in this business that can be said to contribute to the overall health of our society?

I have to admit, when I help a new visitor to our town discover our local beauty and regain the spark that was perhaps dulled by the weekly grind, I do get that glow inside…you know the one that comes from knowing you have reached out and touched someone.  Even if it is on a much smaller scale, is it fair to compare making someone’s holiday remarkable with helping someone learn to read, or leading a boy scout pack week after week?

Tell me, is helping someone plan their vacation the same as helping out your fellow man?