We find heroes in the oddest places.
I found two this week. When someone is fired at my company, the HR director wheels a library cart piled high with empty Staples’ boxes over to the victim’s desk. The cart has one weird wheel that has a distinctive squeak-squeak sound. Every time I hear that squeak-squeak sound, my heart skips a beat. Because we’re all in cubicles, we can’t see each other, but we can narrow down who is going to get fired by the general direction that the squeak-squeak sound is headed.
East means Medical Review, North means someone in auditing or Claims, and west means someone in my department. I back up to a window, so it can’t be anyone behind me.
Here’s where I saw my first Hero this week. L.C. worked for this company for over 15 years. She wasn’t the most pleasant person around; she was actually downright mean to most people most of the time. But she came to work every day – sat at her desk and processed claim after claim after claim. She took a couple of smoking breaks a day and ate her lunch at her desk. Recently she was diagnosed with some kind of cancer and despite the chemotherapy, etc. she hardly missed a day.
Yesterday Squeak-Squeak made its way over to Claims and straight to L.C.’s desk. Apparently she had just been fired, but instead of going quietly, L.C. started packing up her things, muttering the F. bomb the whole time. The H.R. director immediately started to “help” L.C. pack. L.C. was having none of it and she told the H.R. director to “get your f***ing hands off of my f***ing stuff!” After packing her belongings, L.C. defiantly wandered over to our department to say goodbye to her friends. There was a lot of F this and F that and she was promptly ordered out of the building, but not before telling the H.R. Director, “Just wait, someday you’ll get yours! When you least expect it, they’re going to fire your ass just like you’re firing me!”
I call her a Hero because she is the first person that I’ve seen fired from this organization who did not go quietly. She let Management and everyone else know that she was not happy with the way they sneak up on you with their squeaky cart and terminate you. I question why they fired her now – in the midst of chemotherapy. Did her production fall because she has been sick – maybe spending more time in the bathroom? I heard today that when she was called into the H.R. Department she told them all to go fu** themselves. Gotta love it!
My second Hero is the woman I saw standing at the bus stop this morning as I was turning into Starbucks for my daily Chai tea. I’ve seen her around town before and she is obviously mentally challenged She looks to be about my age (54) with a short grey haircut that’s never styled and always windblown. She is obviously extremely myopic and wears a pair of large, outdated glasses that rest on her rosacia, red cheeks and make her eyes appear huge. She walks all over town sometimes pushing one of those collapsible shopping carts. She has the most trusting smile on her face all the time.
I’m sure there are those who might say that she’s smiling BECAUSE she is mentally challenged – that she doesn’t even realize what she’s doing. That may be true, but that gentle smile almost brought me to tears this morning. Her life is obviously so much harder than mine. She stands at that bus stop in all kinds of shitty weather. She wrestles with that freakin’ collapsible shopping cart.
Her smile humbled me this morning and still does as I write this. I have been so blessed in my life and I have to start extending that blessing to others.