Today, I noticed a face that was unfamiliar to me. A Hispanic woman, maybe late 40s. I smiled and was about to go on my way when she asked me if I had been studying at this university for a while. I found it odd because usually, janitors and students/faculty do not strike up conversation other than a casual hello. I told her that I was a senior and that I was about to graduate next month. She asked what I studied and about my family. She told me that God is looking out for me and that I am blessed to have an education and am able to give back to the community. She told me not to worry about what will happen next because there is a plan for me. I thanked her and off I went without even properly introducing myself or asking for her name. How did she know that that was exactly what I was needing to hear? How did her words of wisdom find me in a time of great doubt? Between school and work and everyday thoughts, It is so easy to go on without even acknowledging those who do the behind the scenes dirty work, work that we take for granted.
So thank you janitors, for literally putting up with our crap. For cleaning puke off toilets after a weekend of partying, for picking up old dishes and food left on staircases, for removing beer cans and spilled drinks that students leave for you to do simply because they think it is funny or because "it is your job to do so."
Thank you for cleaning the gross hair in the showers that we try to avoid, and for making our lives a lot easier. You literally are what hold this place, and many more together.
I think today served as a gentle reminder that I should not take for granted the work that you do.
I think that a majority of the reason why we are compelled to look away is because society looks down on people who do all of the dirty work, work we do not want to do ourselves. But a world without janitors and maintenance workers would definitely be an ugly one.
So for all of you who are guilty of littering or creating messes, or simply look away when you see a janitor, I encourage you to let them know that you are thankful for what they do. Tell them that they are not invisible and that their work matters, that they matter, and do not treat them as anything other than what they are, people.
Because you might think that their jobs are easy, but they are not. They require hard working people who are brave enough to do the work not wanted by others. And remember that they are only doing it to make a living, just like you and I.
"No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another." -Author Unknown