Has a housekeeper ever said something to you which was completely unexpected?
Yes and no.
In my book, The Power of Ethics, I wrote a chapter titled The Ethics Hall of Fame. My housekeeper was an obvious member. I wrote:
If trust is the basis for ethics, then I must nominate my long-time maid for the Hall of Fame, Lanere Coffee. When she first started to work for me, I noticed that the day after she did her thing that I would find a quarter near the phone and asked her where it came from. “I put it there”, she said, “to pay for a local call.” When I told her it wasn’t necessary, she nodded in agreement and went on leaving the quarter anyway. And, BTW, she had a key to my home and could enter anytime but rarely did unless I was here.
I did not ask or expect her to pay for a local call, or any call for that matter. But, when I reflected on her deeply religious nature, I knew that she would. Thus my yes and no answer above.
It is now fifteen, twenty years later and Lanere drops by my home regularly to say hello and look around my house to be certain that my new housekeeper is “taking good care of you”.
I think often that “I put it there” is a private sign, a private admission, of trust and respect that I find too rare. Do you agree?