Friday, February 19, 2016

A Lid for Every Pot

I work with a fellow who is a little bit... special.  He's a mailroom-clerk type of employee; on the lowest rung of the ladder.  He takes his job very seriously, and wants to get every detail perfect.  He's that guy who will start chatting with you on the bus just to be friendly, and you'll probably go along with the conversation but you'll kind of wonder what's up with him, as he shares with you his mother's recipe for potato salad.

He doesn't look like he just walked out of a GQ photo shoot.  He's always clean, but he could use a better haircut and some lessons in eyebrow grooming.  Fashion isn't something that seems to register with him.  He's also decidedly out of shape.

He's smart enough, but he's missing some key social skills.  He doesn't take non-verbal cues very well.  For example, if he's chatting with you and you give him signals that it's all very nice but you've got to get going now, that might not have any effect.  You'll have to actually say to him "Look, I'm sorry but I don't have time to chat right now.  Maybe you can tell me that story at the end of the day, when I'm less busy."  He's perfectly nice and polite, even charming, but something doesn't quite click.

He does a good job when he has clear instructions.  Like, absolutely unambiguous, step-by-step procedures.  If you ask him to make six copies of a document and leave them on your desk, he'll ask "You mean leave all six copies on your desk?"  And then, after he does it, he'll say "I left the six copies on your desk."  You'll say thank you, and he'll say "Because you told me to put them there.  I mean, you said put all six of them on your desk."  And you'll say that's perfect, great, and he'll say "Because I wasn't sure if you wanted some of them to go somewhere else."  

After working with him for a couple of months, his constant checking for reassurance drove me so bonkers that I had to have a talk with him about it.  He was actually pretty good about taking the feedback on board and changing his behaviour.  After that, I could see the moment when he wanted to fish for more reassurance that he'd done things right, but he'd bite his lip and move on.  Good man!  I assured him that if I told him once that things were okay a certain way, I meant it.  No need to ask again (and again and again).

This guy is so nice.  I can't even tell you.  He's thoughtful and considerate.  He will always say "Good morning" to everyone, and ask how your weekend was, and he seems to be genuinely interested.  He always wants to share the details of his time off with you, even if that consists of a recitation of the bus routes he rode as he went about his list of errands.  He has some crafting hobbies, and makes custom handmade gifts for peoples' birthdays and other special occasions.  

Well, it finally happened for him after many years.  He got himself a girlfriend!  He dropped the news real casual-like.  First he asked me if I had done anything special for Valentine's Day, and then he told me that he'd taken his girlfriend out for dinner.  As if he had always had a girlfriend.  Smooth moves bro!  Next time I walked past his desk he just happened to have a photo of the two of them together, which he showed me, of course.  He's playing it cool, but I can tell that he's busting his buttons with pride and happiness.

I'm absolutely thrilled that my colleague and friend has found someone who appreciates his unique charms.  He's a genuine sweetie, without a mean bone in his body.  I hope that this relationship is a lasting one that brings them both much joy.  (And if she breaks his heart, I might have to break her face.  Just sayin'.) 

8 comments:

Abby said...

That's sweet. I wonder, is he on the autism spectrum maybe? Or something similar? We hear a lot about autistic kids, but they usually turn into adults. I'm glad he's found the lid for his pot, hopefully it will last!

Jenski said...

You have a way with words, and the way you described your colleague and his new found love warmed my heart!

Lynn said...

I'm glad you take up time with him - that's nice. I'm so glad he has a girlfriend - lovely.

Ginny said...

I don't even know him but I am happy for him. I love when good people find happiness.

Granny Annie said...

It is a big step to hire persons who are mentally or physically challenged but it is a wonderful thing to do.

DarcKnyt said...

I can't tell you how big a smile this post brought to me. I love the title, and I love the outcome. I thought it might go south with all the build-up, but I'm happy for them both. I hope it's a good one for them. :)

Snowbrush said...

This was a delightful post. So many people don't care if they get things right as long as their check is on time, so what a delight it is that this man cares so very much. Good for him for having a girlfriend. He surely deserves his share of happiness.

Vanessa T said...

He sounds like a total sweetie! I hope he and his sweetheart find much happiness together. Great title for the post! LOL