I believe in the simple nobility of the working man and woman – the blue-collar workers of America. They go to work every day to survive, not to angle for the corner office. They show up and do their jobs not to show off their latest $2000 dress, they show up to live. They do what they do best, not to make partner, but because it makes sense.
And they do all this to feed their families, to keep the rent paid, to keep the electric company happy, to clothe their children, to put food on the table and pay for school supplies, to have a little extra so that on Saturday nights, they can hang out with their friends and gripe about their jobs.
I worked graveyard in convenience stores for a few years, and I was bowled over by the yawning day workers that stumbled in with their orange safety vests, their white ID badges, and their tousled brown hair.
There were others too – nightime workers – like the pizza delivery guy who brought me leftover pizzas, the flashy entertainers from the gay nightclub who sang to me, the tired cabby ten hours into a twelve hour shift who tipped me, a mere cashier.
With an unseen wink, they said to me, “We’re all in this together.”
The best example I can give is the lady in the O.B. department after I had my son. I couldn’t get him to nurse, and I rarely saw an RN. They didn’t have time for me. Finally a lady who was changing the sheets noticed my dilemma and grabbed my nipple. As she massaged it, she began murmuring motherly sounds, “It’ll be all right.” “We’ll get that baby on the teat.” “Don’t you worry.” At last she was satisfied and began lightly stroking the baby’s cheek. Then she put his lips in exactly the right place, and away he went. I never knew her name and I never say her again.
But she’s a shining example of this nobility. And it lives everywhere in our lives. Millions of people go to work everyday and for the most part, millions more don’t see them. But I do.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.