Pride & Prejudice: a Hotel Maid, a Rude Customer, and the Complexity of Self-Worth


A millennial hotel maid, who is working to pay for college, struggles with how to respond to a demeaning customer.😡 Charlie goes in on everyone in this problem submitted to Amy Dickenson at NPR


“This summer, my 21-year-old daughter has been working as a hotel maid. While working one morning, she overheard a father say to his teenage son, “You had better stay in school or you will end up like her” — indicating my daughter. My daughter was hurt. She assumed the father did not intend for her to hear the remark and felt the hotel management would not want her to comment to the guest, and so she said nothing.

I appreciate the father’s desire to encourage his son to continue his education, but I am appalled by the lack of respect for a working person. Ironically, my daughter is beginning her junior year at college and working this summer to earn money for a semester abroad. In my opinion, he would be lucky to have his son “end up like her.” Should my daughter have said anything — and if so, what would have been the appropriate response?”

Got any advice for this millennial? Leave your feedback and advice in the comments below, via email at ask[at], or via voicemail below.



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  1. Reply Igor March 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Great Advice, parents to often don’t allow their children to experience all aspects of life. The negative, sometimes interpreted that way more times then not, contributes to building character and tolerance. I would have offered simular advice, the man was trying to impart some probably much needed motivation, trying to impart… Reach higher be more than me!

    • CharlieOliver
      Reply CharlieOliver March 11, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      THANK YOU for your feedback, Igor! I always stress that I’m not a parent (so really, far be it for me to give “parenting” advice). Instead, I speak as someone who appreciates the tough-love and push that I got from family along the way. You’re spot on: “contributes to building character and tolerance.” Unfortunately, with helicopter parenting, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction (and raising kids who are super-sensitive, and in some ways intolerant). You rock, Igore. Thanks again for your feedback! I’ll read it in an upcoming episode next week! : )

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