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Earning some respect

September 19, 2010
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One of the things I see as I travel the country, training at CM/EduConSM, is the typical life of a custodian/janitor.

About two months ago, I was sitting in a busy airport, watching CNN (I’m a secret news junky), when a young couple near me left to catch their flight.

Soon, a janitor came shuffling by and looked at some small debris this couple left; he glanced left, glanced right, kicked it under a bench, and walked off.

Perhaps he was in a hurry and planned to come back later to do a final cleaning.

But this janitor was unshaven, disheveled, and obviously didn’t care about the work he did. His cleaning cart had so much gooey stuff caked onto it that it made me reflect on some old science class experiments gone wrong.

Was this the cleaning industry?

If so, it’s no wonder the public perception of it is negative and it’s hard to get those with authority to spend more money on keeping buildings clean and healthy.

Why spend money on that type of service performance?

Breath of fresh air

Recently, I was at another metropolitan airport, and found a seat in a near-vacant airport café — a rare treat indeed.

Soon a janitor came by, but this one looked different from the one in the previous scenario. This gentleman was clean shaven, his uniform was clean and pressed (or at least had no wrinkles), and he had a gleam in his eye that said “I’m somebody”.

He quickly swept up some debris off of the floor and said “Good morning” to everyone he was near.

Then I saw it: A piece of fresh gum in the carpet. It was mashed down just enough to make it a challenge.

He pushed his cart over to the gum and got down on his hands and knees to go to work.

In about one minute, he had the gum dislodged from the carpet and — this part you will not believe — he pulled an aerosol solvent cleaner and sprayed it onto a white towel to give the spot a final touch.

As most of you know, to expedite cleaning, most will dump or pour cleaning solvent directly on the carpet. This gentleman had some training and some pride.

So, mister unknown cleaning professional, I salute you and thank you for giving our industry some needed respect. We need more cleaners like you.

Recent Articles by Jeff Cross, Senior Editor

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