a lesson in gratitude
This morning I left my building and found a woman sitting on the front step, eating a sandwich. She immediately started to apologize in rapid-fire, heavily accented English.
“I’m sorry, I’m waiting, she’s not here yet, she’ll be here soon.”
I could barely keep up, let alone understand what she was referring too. I smiled and nodded reassuringly.
“I’m just waiting,” she said again, and I finally realized what she meant; she was one of the cleaning women, and was waiting for the other to arrive. She didn’t want me to think she was loitering on the front steps.
“Do you want me to leave the door open?” I asked.
“No no no! She’ll be here soon!”
“It’s alright. It’s fine, don’t worry!” I said with a smile. This poor woman was so needlessly upset. I wondered how many times people had sneered at her or told her off for waiting. The same people whose houses she cleaned. I wonder how many people thanked her. She exhaled slowly and gave a me a timid smile. I smiled back.