Today’s one-liner is a lead-in to a much longer story, but some things need to be said. As some of you may remember, I have a few candy dishes on the bookcase near the door to my office. As I was refilling the dishes last Monday, thanks to a sale at Target, one of my coworkers quipped:
“You should really put those away at night. I think the cleaning lady is taking your candy.”
I responded: “at least she’s doing something in exchange for the candy.” A bit of a jab to the people who consume but never contribute.
I don’t care who eats the candy. I like having candy available, and trying to hide it from someone seems petty and mean and I don’t like mean people.
My coworker’s statement reminded me of two encounters with one of our former VPs, back when I was a relatively new employee. He’s long since retired, so of course I’m going to share these:
When I first started, my job involved installing new computers and making new network connections. This work took me all over our office and frequently had to be done after normal business hours. I was working late one night when a woman on the cleaning crew motioned for my help (she didn’t speak English well). She had been using one of our copiers and it had jammed. As I was clearing the jam, she began to seem very concerned. The document she was copying was one of the many forms immigrants periodically needed to file.
After I cleared the jam, I did my best to ask her how many copies she needed. We agreed on a number, I ran the copies and she thanked me.
A few days later, I was walking with the VP when we passed this woman. She smiled at me and said: “hello Mr. Copy.” I smiled back and said hello. The VP asked me to explain and then chastised me for helping her make copies with our equipment.
Two years later, I was entering the new office we had recently moved into, and I was first person to arrive. I turned on the six sets of overhead lights, and as the lights came on, they startled a homeless man who was raiding the refrigerator in our kitchen.
The man walked toward me, very quickly. He was carrying a banana and a couple of cups of yogurt. We each stayed on our own side of the wide aisle and exchanged guarded “hellos” as we passed each other. He headed to the freight elevator (which up until then was left unlocked at the publicly accessible loading dock level) and I walked to my cubicle.
I reported the incident to the same VP, since he was in charge of office administration. I thought it would be a good idea to get the building to lock the freight elevator. He asked me why I didn’t stop the man. I explained that since I don’t like yogurt, I didn’t feel like risking my life for a banana.
He wasn’t amused. He wondered aloud if perhaps I was a “bleeding-heart liberal.” Not being one to keep my mouth shut when appropriate, I pointed to the “What Would Jesus Do?” paperweight on his desk and said: “I think he would have given the man the banana.”
Who among us hasn’t made personal copies, used company email to send personal documents, sent personal faxes and made long-distance calls from our desk phone (back when faxes and phone calls were a thing)? How many of us could move multiple candy dishes, night after night while dusting a bookcase and not take a piece of candy?
To make things clearer, I added a small sign that says: “Help Yourself” to my book case.
This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participantso.
There’s a sequence in the gallery that shows two squirrels begging but then hiding as a hawk came overhead.