Wednesday, July 15, 2009

i went to a 'diversity and inclusion' training session for work today. my first thoughts were happy ones. free money, pay me to sit and do nothing, instead of listening to all the bitchy people at work. i could handle that.

i never expected to enjoy it as much as i did. it was a mini-crash course in how to positively reinforce and encourage co-workers to help enhance their work production and performance. it was a very simple and basic explanation of how to "work well with others" despite our differences and try to make everyone feel like they are part of the money making team.

who do we include? who do we exclude? and why?
when i was going over the inclusion list in my head i felt comfortable with my check list of people. i was already doing a lot of the things they suggested. but than again it was all very simple, you know, basic human kindness, individual respect, listening...

there is this one guy at work, he drives everyone bonkers, annoys all the other employees constantly. This guy has OCD tattooed on his forehead. But upper management loves him because he has a place and a purpose in the company. he is Mr. Fund raiser. he sells more donation balloons than anyone else in the entire state. In an average 8hr shift he sells 75 to 100 one dollar balloons.

he' s a jabber jaw. he talks and talks and talks some more. he tells all the corny jokes, puns, and oddest story's that seem to never end nor have a point or punch line to them. All the other employees avoid him because they know once he opens his mouth to speak he won't close it till he's driving home.

i've sat with him on occasion in the break room and try to guide the conversation away from the jokes and it always ends up back to the same topic: the children's hospital balloons. in my chats with him i found out that he also volunteers at the children's hospital, again something to do with the balloons, keeps a running tally of all his collected donations, and even sends out little thank you cards to those people who donate over a certain amount in a year. he also shared with me that at his last birthday party (50+) he asked all his guests not to bring gifts but instead to buy donations balloons for the children's hospital. this guy simple eats, drinks, and lives for these donation balloons.

when i learned all this i was amazed and it changed my opinion of him. yes he is still the worlds worst joke and story teller that i have ever listened to, he still has OCD: all bills face this way, everything is total and tally perfectly, same bat station, same bat time...
and i know that his balloon sales are a tool he uses to help keep focused. but what amazed me about him was that he managed to change something that can often be debilitating and turned it around to be a productive way to give back and help mankind. whether it was intentially or not i haven't a clue. my rose colored glasses wants to believe it so.

my step sister was an inspiration to me while i was growing up. she was my ruler that i measured my quality of life by. i could walk, i could talk, i could use my mind and my body. i could grow and i could change and i could make my life better. she could do none of those thing but still confined in her chair with no way to communicate she could feel love. i would sit with her, hold her hand, whisper in her ear, and she would responded to me.

i was young when i first met her, still in grade school. i pictured her mind and spirit as being trapped somewhere between heaven and earth. She was living in this world but still connected to heaven. i use to push her wheel chair, move it back and forth, hold her hands like we were dancing, and singing along to music. she had the biggest brightest smile and her entire face would light up with joy. she was beautiful.

my step-sister was a "Make a child's dream come true" kid. i don't remember all the details exactly. i know she did get her dream, or as much of a dream as she could have in her condition
and a big part of the reason why was because of people just like this goof-ball guy at work constantly collecting money by selling those donation balloons at the grocery checkout.

i'm very empathic. i don't want to bond with him. if i ask, if i know his whole story i will. i can feel it lingering in the air all around him. some days it's so heavy, it sits in his eyes like a tangible touchable entity distancing him from the rest of the world. i can feel enough to know he is beyond my fortune cookie, quick fix approach. my instinct tells me to leave this one alone.
so i do.

Regardless to his reasons why he does what he does,
i'll always be grateful for the efforts of
this goofy guy at work
helping disabled children.

of course, i'm not suppose to label him goofy,
socially challenged maybe?

diversity and inclusions.
live and let live

1 comment:

Cas said...

I like goofy better than socially challenged. Personally, I'd rather be known as goofy.

Thanks for sharing his story. Maybe it will help me dislodge my ass from this couch.