The cleaner on the 7th floor always wore a smile on her face. She walked out of the ladies after cleaning it yet another day. A thought ran through my mind. This was it. This was her bread and butter.
A whole scene played out in my head. Every day, she came to work earlier than me and probably left later than me. She did the same things day in and day out. At the end of the month, she brought home a salary much less than mine to her kids who probably got teased in school about her decent occupation.
I had seen cleaners going about their tasks many times before in many different places, in hotels, restaurants, university but today it was different. Today I asked myself if I could do this every day for the rest of my life. ‘Probably not’, came the resounding answer.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this one. Cleaning the toilet at home is one thing but cleaning a public restroom for countless people to use every day is a whole different story.
It struck me, some people were not as fortunate as most of us. They never got a chance to gain access to education. While some educated people make a living by shoddy means, other not so fortunate ones strive on plain old hard work.
Most of us need motivation to advance in our careers. Some need incentives to stay long enough in a company. Most speak of job satisfaction. What about the cleaner?
While you wouldn’t see the sense in taking up a job as a cleaner anytime soon, why not show some gratitude. Don’t litter thinking someone else will pick up after you. Don’t leave a mess in the toilet for someone else to clean.
In fact, go the extra mile. Smile at the cleaner.
Remember a smile costs nothing, but gives much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give.
Say thank you even if you already are paying for the services.
The cleaner of the 7th floor and people like her are to me the unsung heroes who make this world a cleaner place to live in.
*This was written in reminisce of my days as an intern at The Star.
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