• Elizabeth Espinosa

When Strangers Arrive to Our Doors 当他们来到你的门前

Updated: Aug 17



As hospitality professionals we are trained to:


Smile and greet people

Go above and beyond to make others feel welcomed

Empathize and apologize when things go wrong


The origins of these practices derive from the ancient world. In Greek mythology, as told in the story of Philemon and Baucis, the gods would often disguise themselves as travelers or strangers and would arrive unannounced to the homes of mortals seeking refuge and shelter. The hosts were incapable of determining the divinity of these strangers, and therefore, the gods were able to secretly measure the quality of the human spirit with this clandestine test of genuine hospitality, or lack thereof[1]. (We might also consider this the origin of the secret shopper audit!)


Within the walls of a hotel or restaurant, airline or cruise ship, this ancient tradition of extending genuine care to travelling strangers is reflected in our modern practice of hospitality. We never know what stranger will arrive through our doors, but we make every effort to be culturally sensitive, welcoming and anticipatory of every need. In the eyes of the Ancient Greeks, to do so was the equivalent of an offering to the gods, an aspiration of a higher ideal – far from the common perception that to serve is to be a servant.


"To work in hospitality is not to work as a servant, but to aspire to a higher ideal. "

In the bigger scope of society, the practice of hospitality reflects basic human values and provides the framework for how we treat each other and strive for cross-cultural understanding. I often wonder what the world would be like if hospitality professionals, experts in the art of caring for others, went beyond just practicing their craft while “on the clock” and actually applied their expertise in every human interaction.




Be proud to work in this industry. To be a hospitality professional is to aspire to a higher ideal of human existence and to be equipped with the skills to encounter every stranger as an opportunity to:

Smile and greet people

Go above and beyond to make others feel welcomed

Empathize and apologize when things go wrong




  1. [1] Simpson, Michael. The Metamorphoses of Ovid. University of Massachusetts Press, 2001.


Elizabeth Espinosa is the Founder & CEO of Inspire Hospitality and is passionate about studying the history and origins of the hospitality industry. She believes that by studying hospitality in a historical context, we can inspire industry professionals to elevate their craft and have a greater impact on society. www.inspirehospitality.com.cn


作为专业的服务业的工作者,我们受到这样的培训

对他人微笑相迎,并且致以问候

超越他人的期待,让人们感受到宾至如归

表达自己的同理心,并且在他人遇到困难时提供帮助


所有的这些意识与行为的发生都可以追溯至古代,并且传承至今。正如古希腊神话中费洛曼和鲍西斯的故事中所讲述的那般,上古之神们常常隐藏自己的身份,将自己装扮成旅客或是陌生人降临到凡人的家中以寻求庇护。凡人们常常是无法分辨这些叩响他们房门的陌生人的神性的,因此人性往往在此时此刻被众神们度量着。通过这样神秘的考验,众神们能够分辨哪一些人是真诚的,热情好客的,而哪一些人则不拥有这样的品质。(我们甚至可以推测这就是如今的神秘访客的雏形!)


在现代社会的酒店,餐厅,航空航线或是邮轮上,这种传承至今的,用来表达对旅行者或是陌生人的真诚关怀从始至终都能得到体现,甚至得到了升华。我们无从得知什么样的陌生人会穿过那一道门,与我们发生什么样的交集,但是我们依然会在人文的层面上变得紧觉敏感起来。我们会不自觉地迎接他们并且预测他们的每一个可能的需求。在古代希腊人的眼中,行事如此这般便如同是供奉神明,是一种崇高的,更加理想的强烈愿望。这是不同于我们常常理解的作为仆人一般的伺候。


从更加广泛的社会层面上来看,这样的热情好客也反映了人类最基本的价值观,同时也为人们如何与他人相处以及争取在不同文化维度中取得大同的理想建立了基本的框架。我常常在想如果把我们正在从事的这一份服务业的专业和精神发扬光大,超越行业的限制应用在每一个人的日常相处之中,那我们的世界将会是什么样子的呢?


我为自己能够从事这一行业而感到自豪。成为一名专业的服务行业的从业者是因为我有这样的强烈的愿望能够让人们拥有一个更加美好的生存,相处的环境,同时也让自己能够在遇见每一个陌生人时都能有机会对他们:

对他人微笑相迎,并且致以问候

超越他人的期待,让人们感受到宾至如归

表达自己的同理心,并且在他人遇到困难时提供帮助