Toilet Paper Diaries: “Dude” Pays It Forward

spilled latte

Last Thursday I was approaching my office door with keys in hand, briefcase in tow, and quite a few care packages tucked under my arm.  As I tried balancing my latte on my French-style door handle, I was rewarded for this very bad decision by my drink plummeting to the freshly waxed linoleum and spreading in a four-foot oblong pattern across the heavy traffic area of our hall.

Returning from my second restroom trip with twenty yards of paper towels flowing behind me, I was met with this image…

A young male student with strawberry-blonde curly hair held somewhat in place by a hippie-style, braided headband was on his hands and knees. His gold-rimmed, 70s style glasses were slightly odd-angled on his still-pubescent face and he was working diligently, cleaning up my mess.

As I approached he greeted me in a very “duuuude” voice, “These paper towels aren’t very ab-sor-bent.”
We mopped together in silence for a minute, he left and then returned again with a huge wad of toilet paper.
“THIS stuff was made for ab-sor-bency, riiiight?”  He held out the wad of toilet paper as though he had just bagged a trophy.

I grinned, agreed, and we had everything cleaned up in another minute.

With the last few finishing swipes of a wet rag to clean up any sticky residue, I looked up and said, “Bless you for all your help (I almost ended that statement with “,dude”) – I really appreciate that.”

He stood up, shifted his huge backpack and said, “Yur wel-come…have a guh-rate week.” After adjusting his glasses and flashing a lopsided smile, he walked down the now dry hallway.

I found myself parroting his voice in my head as I watched him leave:  “That dude is paying it for-ward.” 
I smiled, and started my day.