The Day R2-D2 Came to the Door

Last weekend, my wife and I traveled to Northern California to witness one of our nephews enter into the bonds of holy matrimony with the bride of his dreams, not far from the Silicon Valley. It was an idyllic setting, and the wedding ceremony glorified Christ and lifted up the institution of marriage in a beautiful and graceful way.

After the reception and the family gathering that followed had concluded, my wife and I returned to the Hampton Inn and Suites where we were staying. After we got to our room, we realized we needed some more towels, so I called down to the desk to request them.

About three minutes later, I noticed something odd. Shining from underneath our door was an electric blue light. Something had stopped in front of our door out in the hallway.

At that same moment our hotel room telephone rang. An automated, pre-recorded voice said that our request had arrived, and was at the door.

Now, for a guy who grew up on science fiction, my mind was racing at warp speed. Weird blue light. Strange phone call. What on earth—or not on earth—was happening?

With no small amount of trepidation and yet a real sense of curiosity, I opened the door while my wife stood safely behind me.
And there it was.

I wasn’t sure what it was, but there it was. A robot. It kind of looked like R2-D2 from Star Wars fame. It had a display screen and a compartment that opened up with our four sets of towels. I looked around (I mean, this had never happened to me before), then lifted out the towels and handed them to my wife. As I looked back down, the display screen asked me to rate its service. I pressed the fifth of five stars. It lit up and flashed a smile on the screen. It was happy! I was happy! (I mean, I hadn’t been vaporized and we hadn’t been abducted by aliens.) It further displayed that if we needed anything else, to give a call. Then, in very R2-D2 fashion, it turned and rolled down the hallway, then activated the elevator, entered, and disappeared behind the closing doors.

I was in shock. I was relieved. And I was a bit giddy.

Before we checked out, I took some pictures of the little robot, whose name is Relay. (See how I have already personified him, her, uh, I mean it? )

It was yet another reminder of the changing world in which we live. This is the world in which we are preparing our children to enter and become successful, both in the eyes of educators and employers, and in the eyes of God. While it may occasionally seem to remind us of science fiction, it is the reality of our times.

At ALCS, we are continually scouting the horizon ahead, and understand that teaching our students 21st century skills is not optional and is not just a tagline; it is absolutely necessary for the future success of your children. Grounded in the truth of God’s Word and faith in Jesus Christ, we believe we are bringing both 21st century skills and 1st century faith to our students.

For a school to do anything less is not paying attention to the realities of the road ahead.

So watch out for the blue light in the hallway… and we’ll see you around campus.

Dr. Vance Nichols
Head of School
Alta Loma Christian School

Dr. Nichols (BS, MS, EdD) also serves as Commissioner and Chair of the ACSI Southern California Regional Accreditation Commission, and was an educational researcher, organizational leadership theorist, and 2015 Innovation Scholar at the University of Southern California. His most recent published research may be accessed online at: