The minute I read this WordPress Daily Prompt I knew exactly who I’d be writing about: George. The doorman who works the 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. shift at my apartment building. He is, hands down, one of the nicest, kindest, gentlest men you will ever meet.
And he just so happened to be the first person I saw this morning. Which is the subject of the aforementioned prompt.
George has worked at the building for many, many years. He is a fixture there. Known and loved, not only by the residents, but by every taxi driver, delivery person and visitor who’s ever pulled up at our front door. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out, hailed a taxi and, as soon as I’d give the driver my address, he start waxing poetic about George.
“You have the most wonderful doorman”, they gush. “He is so nice. So polite. So kind. So cheerful. Such a warm smile” … and on and on it goes.
Which is one of the reasons why I look forward to Tuesdays. It’s my day to volunteer at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto and I leave early — usually around 7:45 a.m. And George is the first person I see. Which always puts me in a great mood.
There he is, just getting ready to start his day, getting settled at his desk. “Good morning, Fransi”, he says with a huge smile. “How are you, today?” And, as he ushers me out the door, he says, “Take care of yourself, Fransi. Have a wonderful day”. And he gives me a little pat on the arm. That’s how he greets all of us.
No wonder I walked away with a smile on my face.
Can you think of a better way to begin your day?
Neither can I.
Because George is dedicated to helping others. He’s not even aware of what he does, how he does it and how beloved he is. It’s just in his DNA. It’s who he is. And we all live in dread of the day he decides to retire. Because he’s one of those individuals who would be almost impossible to replace.
I really felt for him today, though. It is bitter, bitter cold here. Currently minus 26 celsius with the wind chill. And it will get colder throughout the day. Yikes! And George’s desk is in the vestibule. Every time someone comes in or goes out, he will get a blast of freezing cold air. Not to mention he’ll have to go out in it, every time someone gets in or, gets out of a car.
But he was still smiling this morning.
As soon as I got out of the elevator I saw him, bundled up in a nice, warm coat, and boots, with a cozy scarf wound around his neck. But his head and hands were bare. He’d only been on duty for a couple of minutes and, already, his ears and cheeks were red. His hands were blue with cold. “Don’t you have a hat, George?” I asked with alarm — ready to go upstairs and find something that would work on a man. He giggled and said “Yes, Fransi, I guess I should put it on, ay?”
“Yes, George”, I said. “That would be an excellent idea. And what about gloves, George. It’s freezing out there.” Sheepishly he explained that he has big hands and it’s hard to find gloves that are comfortable. So although he has them, he doesn’t like wearing them. I suggested he might want to make an exception today. He agreed; and as I walked away I saw him tugging them on.
He’s a treasure, our George is. And we have to take care of him.
I wonder how long it was before he took the gloves off.