I was 21, living in Whistler, working two jobs, missing home. On Christmas Eve, I was working "turn-down service" at the Chateau Whistler: turn down beds, place water and chocolates on pillows, draw curtains, turn lights down low, etc.
I entered one room and was instantly overcome with a wave of homesickness so quick and sharp, that I started to cry. For real. Like a goober, I moved around this room, turning down and sniffling, missing my mum SO BADLY, it hurt.
Went into the bathroom to refresh the towels and there it was: L'Air du Temps perfume. My mum's scent.
Well. I must have stood there for 5 minutes, no joke, sniffing that bottle and crying and then laughing at my manic self. Didn't hear the door click open, nor anyone moving about the room until the guest came through the door, looking perplexed and a little bit scared.
I was able to stutter out an apology, swiping snot and tears across my face, before she called for security or something and moved past her to rush out. And then she spoke, this 60ish woman, with perfectly-coiffed, snow-white hair and laugh lines so deep, in an English accent.
Well, that did it. This was me, sobbing anew and stumbling over the towels and my basket of chocolates and treats: "My mum's English tooooooooooo...sniff, sniff, hiccup, "and you sound like her and you smell like her and I'm so, so sorry for sniffing your perfume, but I miss her sooooo.....hiccup, hiccup....much!"
And she just sat on her bed and patted the space next to her, saying, "Come and have a cuddle then, love" and I practically THREW myself into her arms and sat there, crying and laughing and feeling like an ass and feeling loved and cherished and like a moron, all at once.
And I'll be damned if I'm crying all over again, typing this out. Wow.
Upon check-out, my Christmas angel left a note, written in perfect cursive and a tiny, sample bottle of L'air du Temps.
"Dear Elizabeth, Thank you for giving an old woman a very special Christmas. I enjoyed our time together and will think of you, whenever I spy my perfume bottle, the last one given to me by my late husband.
God Bless you and your family.