A Happy and Thankful Life



40-years teaching

Tonight, after a longer program set-up than planned, I told the night custodian that I was heading out. He had checked in on me a few times and was friendly. I always try to ask little of the custodial staff at schools as they are busy. They have so much to get done in the hours that the building is closed. It doesn’t make sense to ask them for help when they have far more work ahead of them than I do.  

He walked me out and asked how long I had been with the company and didn’t quite believe the years I told him. I don’t blame him as I find it hard to believe that I’ve worked at the same company, in different positions, for fourteen years.  He said that he taught for longer than I’ve been alive. He was retired after being a gym teacher for forty years. Being bored at home, he returned to working in schools part-time as a custodian and he loves it.

Honestly, it wasn’t what I was expecting. As I’ve tried not to interrupt custodians, I never gave myself the time to learn their stories. Everyone has a story. Do you remember the CBS News series called “Everybody Has a Story”? It was one on my favorite segments on the nightly news. I envy Steve Hartman and his opportunity to travel and hear people’s stories. He would throw a dart on the map, head to that city and then use the local phone book to identify a random person to interview. Many of the people he interviewed were humble and didn’t find themselves interesting or worthy enough for a tv story. Steve always proved them wrong.

There are reasons, some seemingly mundane and some intriguing, for how people ended up where they are now. His positive attitude was refreshing after hearing more of his experiences and history. He is a great example as to what I am trying hard to do every day, to live a happy and thankful life. In the fog that I’m walking through, there are real people on the other side. Thank you sir for taking the time to talk with me and bring a smile to my face. I hope you enjoy the program tomorrow.

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