Jon looked at the spilled coffee, jumped up, fetched paper towels and began cleaning up.
Ten minutes before, all seven people in the circle had been talking about store appearance. One person was talking about employees who stand around talking. Another told of being required to carry a rag, so he could front, face, and dust anytime he walked through the store. Another talked of explaining why standing around wasn’t helpful and why always being active in the aisles was important.
Jon didn’t say anything. He was listening to the conversation among these managers from local Do-It-Best stores at a training program, but he didn’t say anything.
Until the guy next to him spilled coffee.
He looked at the spill. While the rest of us were processing what to do, whether to stop the discussion, how to decide who among the group should do something, Jon jumped. He ran for towels, did triage, got more towels, got the floor of the classroom dry and quietly sat back down. It wasn’t his job. He just did it.
After the discussion, as people were leaving, I thanked Jon for cleaning up my coffee. I told him it meant I could keep facilitating the discussion.
“I clean up spills all the time.”
Jon works in a store somewhere in Milton, Florida. I hope they knew what they have. He’s the guy who looks serious, who doesn’t talk much, who watches other people talk about cleaning…and who jumps to actually do it.
And he did it 800 miles away from where he’s paid to clean up.
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