No Room At The Inn

by Evelyn Repman

A closed door with a doorknob

On a recent trip to the UK, my son, grandson, and I had an amazing experience of love and empathy that has changed “our world”. Our rental car stalled, and exhibited a motor fault light on a one lane country road, with blind curves and large hedges on both sides.

We called for a rescue, but found out two hours later that they had no record of our request for help. We decided to leave the car, as it was getting dark, and were immediately picked up by a young couple who took an hour and a half out of their day to help us get to a hotel in a small town near the railroad station. We would need to take four trains in four hours to get back to London Heathrow airport for our flight the next day. At the hotel, the Saturday night crowd was dancing to a live band, and busy staff stopped to help us.

The hotel registrar informed us there were no rooms available for three persons, and advised us to look for lodging elsewhere, with suggestions. After an hour, we had been unable to secure transport to the other suggestions, over thirty minutes away, because it was too late.

We approached the bar for assistance again. The bartender paused, listened to our story, and said, “That sounds like a nightmare!” and went for the manager. Though very occupied, he took the time to listen to our dilemma. He shook his head sadly, reiterating no room available, and rehearsed concerns for fire codes, etc. However, as our despair became evident, his face suddenly changed. With a determined step, he took my hand. “Come with me!”

He led us up a back staircase and to a little room. It was pleasant, and peaceful, and was shortly accessorized with a couple of small mattresses. They had no sheets or pillows, “we are so full!” and he apologized several times, telling us there was nothing better, but promising the fee for breakfast would be covered. As I gazed at our place of rest, it felt like heaven!

All during that night, scenes of a beautiful couple, who were refused lodging because there was “no room for them in the inn”, illuminated my sleep. The face of the innkeeper who had compassion, like ours, flashed in brightness as he led them to the stable. I could sense Mary’s reaction – “It feels like heaven” - as the innkeeper changed the hay, moved the animals, and apologized he had “nothing better to offer.” I knew that blessed night in the stable was made intimately more beautiful because of the kindness of an innkeeper, who stretched his limit to accommodate the extremity of their need, like our Innkeeper.