A few years ago, right after the Internet really took off, my cleaning lady Jeane was planning an excursion with her family to Walt Disney Word. Jeane, who had been coming to my house since before I was born, had been saving her money for several years specifically for this trip. Her husband had recently died, her son was in a wheelchair and most of her family worked minimum-wage jobs to keep afloat. But no one worked harder than Jeane. She always prioritized her family, and she wanted this trip more than anything.
One week my father overhead her speaking on the phone about how she was having trouble finding hotels that would accommodate her situation. He knew she wasn’t familiar with online bookinga, so he discretely asked me to investigate some hotels. I began searching, but soon realized that with Jeane’s circumstances several hotel rooms would be pricy and difficult to secure.
But I soon stumbled upon a house that would fit her family of 16 and was stocked with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms and a pool. And it was a fraction of what the hotel rooms would charge.
When I told her of my discovery, and that it was available, her eyes welled with tears. The price cut would allow her to spend more time there, with the people she loved.
My quick key swipes meant absolutely nothing in terms of the hours of labor she logged so she could take her family on a trip they would remember forever. Because of the ease of the Internet, I viewed what I did as literally nothing. It was a few moments of my day. But to her it was a vacation with the ones she loved. It was seeing her grandchildren laugh with Mickey Mouse. It was everything.
Story by Andie Diemer, from Elon University’s School of Communications