Gives As Good As You Get

, , , , , | Working | February 19, 2018

(Aside from the regular kitchen staff, we employ a “helper” who comes in during the weekend to do basic prep and clean-up for the coming week: an elderly friend of the boss who is bored from being retired. His German is quite broken, since he’s an Iranian immigrant, and he’s a lot older than our kitchen staff. I get along with him very well, though, and we chat a lot when we work together, even if it takes a bit of effort to understand each other. Another coworker, however, doesn’t seem to like him and complains to me one day.)

Coworker: “Ugh, I really don’t want to work with Mr. [Helper] this weekend. He’s so much trouble to deal with.”

Me: “Trouble how?”

Coworker: “He never cleans anything after finishing a task; his area is always a mess! And he doesn’t even notice our dishes piling up; you’d think he could help with the dishwasher once in a while. He’s more hindrance than help!”

(I’m surprised by this, because whenever I work with him, his area is spotless, and he makes it a point to not leave until he’s cleaned up everything around him, even if his shift is long finished. He also helps out with many tasks without me asking. The next time I work with him, I decide to ask.)

Me: *jokingly* “So, Mr. [Helper], I heard from [Coworker] that you were a little troublemaker. What’s this about you not cleaning up anything nor helping out?”

Helper: “Oh, that man!” *looks around to see if anyone else can hear us* “I give him trouble, yes? He give me more! Pushing me away, never talk to me, just drop things to clean on my table, shoving things in my way so I notice. Well, I decide not to notice.” *now whispering quite sadly* “He never even say hello to me. One time he say to someone else that I am disgusting. I know not why, but now I make sure I am disgusting! For him! He treat me like dog, I will poo on his floor like dog!”

(He’d purposely given the coworker trouble for mistreating him. Everybody else treated him very kindly, so there weren’t any problems with anyone. The complaining coworker left us pretty soon after, and I never heard another bad word about our helper. In fact, he went out of his way to get everyone flowers for their birthdays and other little favours. I suppose the love you take IS equal to the love you make!)

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