I walked towards him, a little hesitant and wary. He was a stranger and he was inside the lobby of my building after hours. “How did he get in here and where is he trying to go?” I wondered. It was after 7pm and the whole building was quiet. The Wells Fargo employees from upstairs had gone home and the other offices were dark. The office suite where I work is open for business 21 hours a day, but I could tell he wasn’t headed there.
As we got closer, I smiled and said hello. Then in slow motion, I did a double take back to his face. In this second look, I saw the face of a skinny little boy with wire glasses and dark hair. Immediately, I knew him. “Gabe? Are you Gabe?” I asked.
“Uh. Yes, I am.” he replied looking at me with zero recognition. How could I see his little boy face hidden behind a full beard, but he didn’t see me? I gave him my maiden name, the one he would recognize from elementary school and church. “Oh, ok” he said, but I wasn’t convinced he knew me. He looked uncomfortable.
I pointed towards the office where I work; there wasn’t much else to say. I wondered if he would explain what he was doing in my building, so I waited a moment. And another moment. Then he offered up, “I own a cleaning business and we have the contract here, so I’m checking in with some of the employees here tonight.”
“Did you just get the contract?” I asked.
“Yes, just last week, actually. It’s a really new thing.” he responded.
I enthusiastically gushed that I could totally tell that a new company had been hired recently. It’s much cleaner, and smells clean and his employees always look busy. The previous cleaning lady was usually sitting around in the lobby on her phone.
“I’m so glad you got the contract here! There’s such a big difference! Go tell your employees that they are doing a great job and that I noticed!”
He nodded, probably still wondering who I was. The next day I looked him up on Facebook and his name came right up, even though I didn’t remember his last name. Facebook is cool like that. We have eleven random friends in common and he’s married to someone who looks familiar too. It was a random encounter on a random evening at work, but if you need a professional cleaning service, I can recommend Pro Vision Cleaning, Inc. Ask for Gabe.