Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting My Hands Dirty

Yesterday as I sat in the speaker green room preparing to play hostess to any speakers who decided to take a break at my company's annual conference, I heard some teenage girls hanging out in the hallway. They were pretty noisy and the area of the hotel I was in was fairly off the beaten path, so I couldn't really understand why these girls were hanging out over there.

About fifteen minutes after the girls had departed the hallway I took a potty break and mosey'ed over to where they had been. There was a gift bag on the floor outside of the bathroom that was tipped over the contents were spilled out (hair clips, random junk, etc.). I thought this was a pretty odd thing to find outside the bathroom, I figured maybe someone in the bathroom had left it outside the door and it had tipped over. I realize I'm making a lot of deductions here :) regardless, in to the bathroom I went.

The inside of the bathroom was a hot mess. The tissue box had been thrown on the floor, the paper towels ripped out of the wall and thrown about and someone had gone to the bathroom on the toilet seat. Yikes. I don't know what the heck went on in that bathroom but it wasn't pretty. I was pretty shocked to find it in this condition, the hotel we're staying at is pretty swank - not the kind of place to not monitor the status of the facilities. All I could figure is the teenage girls I heard making a commotion had decided to do something stupid. Rather than get mad at them or get upset that the bathroom was a wreck, I took a step back. How many times have I done stupid, selfish things that I wish I hadn't? Too many to count. If it was the girls who did this, I could forgive them. What I couldn't forgive was letting the cleaning staff find this mess. How often must they find crap (pun recognized) like this and sigh and wonder where is their fellow man's compassion? Probably far too often.

With that thought firmly in the front of my mind I got busy cleaning up some of the mess. As I was doing so I heard a loud sigh and a tiny hispanic woman wheeled the giant cleaning cart in to the bathroom. I'm certain she had found the mess on her rounds and had left to get the cleaning cart because the sigh I heard and the look on her face made it clear she knew what she about to walk in to. Or at least she thought she knew what she was going to walk in on, what she didn't expect was me all dressed up cleaning crumpled tissues off the floor.

She immediately began apologizing. I stood up and apologized to her. I told her I was sorry someone would do this and sorry that she had to deal with it. I told her I had wanted to clean up a bit so that no one would have to find the bathroom this way. She looked shocked and then she very sincerely thanked me. I smiled, told her no problem and went about the rest of my day. I imagine being on the housekeeping staff has got to be a thankless and invisible job. You stay at a hotel and you just expect the linens to get picked up off the floor, the bed to be made, the garbage to be emptied, etc. I guess it was a good reminder to thank the people who make my days easier, cleaner and seamless and to take the time to go out of my way once in awhile to make their day better too.

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