I have stories about bathrooms, airports, and today, another involving both. Seems I'm unable to leave the airport's facilities without wet hands and a new story.
It all started innocently enough. I got off the plane and found the nearest bathroom. Apparently there was some attraction inside that everyone wanted to see because the line wrapped around the corner. I decided to continue my search in the further terminals. Although I had a 3 hour layover, I didn't want to spend all of it in line. I found a ladies room and walked in. That's when I saw the desk and bathroom attendant.
I walked - stunned - to one of the furthest stalls. I'd heard of bathroom attendants but never actually seen one. Plus, I somehow convinced myself that attendants only work at golf courses or casinos where the low table starts at $10,000 ~ you know, places I frequent, oh, never. But here she was - in the bathroom at the airport - with peppermints and a tip jar.
A thousand thoughts went through my mind. Well, at least a dozen anyway: People really do this for a living? Why would you want this job? What if someone, you know, "fluffs" or something? What if she were going to a class reunion - what would she say? "Oh, I listen to people go all day and hand them a paper towel." Do I tip? Is it based on the softness of the toilet paper? It is soft. How much do I tip? Do I even have any cash? Does she hear lots of interesting cell phone conversations? Has anyone ever turned a stall into their personal reading lounge? What skills would she list on her resume? Do the really skilled attendants get promoted to busier spots? What...wait...really?!
I decided I would quickly head to the sink, wash, then leave. I would give a nice "Thankyou" nod as I left. I got some soap but before I had a chance to count to 20 - or sing my ABC's - there she was next to me, handing me a folded paper towel.
I realized I had one penny on me. I debated which would offend less: to give my one cent or nothing at all. I glanced - she didn't have a credit card machine and I'm sure she wouldn't take personal checks. I opted not to tip.
I felt lame. I would hate to be in her shoes ~ having to help people that hardly acknowledged my service, confined to an "office" with no windows, no Internet, no real chance to interact with people.
... and I thought my job stunk!