Derek is still the security guard at my old office building, I believe.
He’s such a great guy- helpful, kind, funny; all of the qualities you’d want the “Director of First Impressions” to have at any company.
I got to know him a little; he’s a father, husband and someone who works his butt off to provide for his family.
The day I was escorted out of the building, on Termination Day, Derek had to do it.
“I’m so sorry, John Scott…”
This giant of a man saved me a shred of dignity on a day when there was almost none to be salvaged.
I found some words on a long-abandoned blog I want to share with you; there is no credit for the words, and I take no credit for them. But they rang true, and they rang loudly.
If you are the kind of person who can’t be bothered to give the cleaning crew, the front desk person or the security guard a sliver of your time and humanity, there are more things about you that I’m positive I wouldn’t like.
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.
Follow John on Twitter: @johnscottsf