Know the Cleaning Lady: A Lesson in People

Hello! (I say with a smile)

Once in a great while, the magic of internet serendipity passes something my way that gives me pause to stop and think. The following story is one such thing. Like so many bits of interweb wisdom, it seems nobody knows exactly where this came from for sure.

Know The Cleaning Lady

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

A wise book once said “It’s about people, stupid.” We will meet many people this week – clients, customers, colleagues, the checkout girl at Publix, the guy at the parking garage toll booth. All are significant. Be on the lookout for Dorothys, quiet leaders and silent heroes. Remember that each person that crosses our path is an opportunity for a touchpoint. Even if it’s just a smile and a hello.

Be present with your people – and passionate about them.

Happy Monday, friends.



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