Please make sure they clean their footwear

This might be an unusual title for a quick post, but it’s based on something I said. Something I said that I wish I hadn’t. Something I need to remind myself never to say again.

These aren’t muddy, but I wouldn’t want them on board either!

Someone had called for a ride for three of her workers and I had been assigned the job of picking them up. I knew that I was going to be picking up workers because the one asking for the ride had sent me a text message saying to please pick up her three workers from their worksite. I had just cleaned the car up less than an hour ago, and had been picking up passengers that week who seemed more intent than most on leaving the car much less cleaner than when they boarded. Feeling a little annoyed, I called the one booking the ride and requested that she made sure her workers did not board with muddy boots. She agreed to do so, and to her credit, the workers boarded with boots that were quite clean.

A little later, this scene came back to me. To her credit, indeed it was, but any credit to me? Absolutely not! While it is reasonable to expect that passengers should not leave a mess when riding on private hire vehicles, taxis, buses or on the MRT, why did I have to be so picky as to call the one who requested the ride and have her ensure that her workers cleaned their boots before coming aboard? Even if they had left some mud on the floor rugs, it would have taken me only about two minutes to stop somewhere and dust them off, ja? In any case, since I need to clean the vehicle daily, the car would have been cleaned and ready to receive more passengers in less than twelve hours. Why did I react as I did?

The answer, of course, is that I had expected others to discharge their responsibilities as well and as faithfully as I thought I myself did. Then again, do I always discharge my responsibilities diligently, faithfully and well? No, of course not. The last time I checked, my feet came into contact with the ground when I walked, and I do cast a little shadow when light shines on me. So, why do I expect others to be responsible all the time when I am not? If I see myself as a living stone, part of a larger building, is it not reasonable for me to expect that I should stretch myself a little so as to compensate for the lack which others present? Would that not also encourage others to do likewise?

Responsibilities, more than rights. It’s how we grow. I need to remember that the next time I encounter muddy boots.

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