Clean Up Your Act

, , , , | Healthy | January 31, 2018

(I work as a housekeeper at a hospital. The job is hard, but I get paid fairly well. The hardest part is dealing with patients and visitors who don’t realize how important my job really is. I’m mopping the main lobby. A group of visitors leaving the hospital are coming. I just mopped the floors, and they track dirt and grease all over the floor, dropping food as they pass, as well. I get a new mop, slightly irritated, I’ll admit. Then, I hear the mom lean down to her daughter and say:)

Visitor: “Stay in school, or you’ll end up like him!”

(I’ve had a hard day, and just hearing that makes me lose it. I go over, tap the woman on a shoulder, and say:)

Me: “Ma’am, were you visiting a patient here today?”

Visitor: “Uh, yeah… [room number]. Why?”

Me: “You realize a lowlife housekeeper like me cleaned that room, right? That room previously had a very sick person staying in it, and a housekeeper bleached the walls, bed, toilet, everything, to keep you safe from getting what the last patient had.”

(She goes to open up her mouth, but I don’t let her say anything.)

Me: “I’m working this job while I work on getting my associate’s in nursing, which I’m only three months away from. I eventually want to become a doctor. I took this job to get my foot in the door for my future. My parents don’t have money to get me through school, and the scholarships I received aren’t enough to cover $4000 a semester. So, unless you are already saving for her to go to school, or are made of money, she will likely end up with a low-end job for a couple of years. I get the same benefits as any medical staff, I make $12 an hour, and, other than dealing with people like you, my job is nice.”

(By this point her jaw has dropped and her daughter is giggling next to her.)

Visitor: “I’m sorry; I didn’t realize—”

Me: “You shouldn’t have said something like that. ‘If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.’ My mom taught me that when I was five. Probably best for you to learn it, too.”

(The mother scurries out of the door with her head hanging low. My supervisor has seen the whole exchange, so I think I will get in trouble. He laughs and says:)

Supervisor: “I’ve wanted to say that to people like that forever! I’m just glad I got to witness such a historic moment!”

(Housekeepers are not scum or low-lives, and we are not stupid. Most of us have joined as housekeepers to make it easier to climb up the career ladder. Think about that the next time you say something rude like that.)

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