Thursday, June 23, 2011


"Welcome to my office" was the cheerful greeting that encountered me at the Olive Tambo airport in Johannesburg. This was unexpected because I was not aware that I was entering an office. I looked at the sign again - yes it read "Men's toilet". And I had been welcomed by the man who cleaned it.

I was entering his work space. And he welcomed me, and sprayed disinfectant on the toilet seat before allowing me into the cubicle, and wiped the taps and basin clean before I washed my hands.

He was affirming the dignity of his work, ands his desire to give meaning to what he did. He made me feel relaxed and welcome, and wished me well when I left.

And so I thanked him for going beyond what I would have expected. And am determined to learn from him in being courteous to the people of my day.

Sent via my BlackBerry


Don Scrooby said...

Had a similar encounter with probably the same guy. Marvellous.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that. It's such a reminder not only that we should give courtesy and respect but we should also treat ourselves with it as well.

Scout with the Cross said...

And a warm welcome to you Pete.

It is surprising how something such as this courteous man can be so easily overlooked, but is quite profound if you just spend a few seconds to reflect on it.