“You Have a Great Day, Now”
“You have a good day, ma’am. How are you doing today, miss?” Her pleasant voice floated through the ladies' room as I rushed in, having held my water a little too long because of a long flight delay.
I caught her kind eyes, smiled, surprised. She smiled back.
I settled into a stall, relieved. And listened.
The cleaning woman greeted every single one of us as we walked in. Wished us a lovely day as we walked out.
She meant it.
Every single one of us.
Lord only knows how many hours she had been doing this, cleaning up our paper, our splashes, our footprints.
She moved quietly across the floor, cleaning stalls, flushing, wiping, a steady stream of greetings and pleasant goodbyes as we flowed in and out.
She never lost a step, Never missed anyone.
From my private perch I could hear the surprise in people’s voices. You could hear them smile.
Who greets people in an airport bathroom? Who takes the time to make sure you know you’ve been noticed, acknowledged, valued?
Someone who gets how tired, rushed, distracted we are.
Someone who understands what it’s like to be invisible.
Colossians 3:23 states that whatever work we may find ourselves in, we might throw ourselves into with all our hearts as though we were working for a much higher purpose. You will forgive my slight adaptation; admittedly I am not a Christian. However I find much wisdom and beauty in scriptures of all religions. Just as there is great and abiding beauty in people who elevate the work that they find themselves doing into a high art, whether it’s street sweeping or sweeping the oceans for plastics. It’s not so much the work that makes us, but how much heart we put into that work that transforms us and those around us. Our intentions to uplift everyone, no matter how menial or mean that which we find ourselves doing.
The dignity of effort.
My business done, I left the stall. She was right outside, close to the wall, leaning on her cart. She looked tired. She was about to say goodbye to me when I enveloped her in my arms.
“Thank you,” I said. “You are so incredibly kind. Thank you so much for being so kind to us.”
“I needed that, ma’am. Thank you.” I hugged her hard. When I pulled away, we both had tears in our eyes.
They are in the most unlikely of places.
I found one in the Atlanta Airport, today at 4:35 pm.
If you see her, hug her.
She will give you wings.
I was tired. Beyond tired. My