“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
All of us have dreams. From a receptionist, to a banker, to the CEO of a company, we all strive to achieve something. For some of us, our dreams take a backseat in the mad rush to earn a living. However, sometimes a helping hand is all we need. This is exactly what Febin Bellamy, a half-Malayalee student at Georgetown University, did when he extended a hand of friendship to Oneil Batchelor, a janitor at the university. Oneil, an immigrant from Jamaica, was the same age as the students at the university but circumstances deprived him of the privilege of education. As the friendship between the two grew, Febin realised that Oneil’s dream was to start a chicken joint. Febin, with the help of his friends, helped Oneil realise his dream.
“I had a rough transition from community college to Georgetown. I would often stay up late until 3 to 4 a.m. trying to catch up on school work. I used to sit in the rooms on the second floor and I’d always see the cleaning staff walk through the empty hallways, take out the trash in the bathrooms, vacuum the floors, clean the glass doors, etc. I thought about how hard these employees are working to keep our business school clean so that when the students arrive in the morning, we can have a clean environment. I eventually started a conversation with Oneil. After several conversations with him, I made it a habit to always greet a service worker if I ever passed one of them in the hallway. After learning about his personal story of how he wanted to become an entrepreneur, I remember wishing that everyone would actually take the time out to get to know unsung heroes like Oneil. And not just facilities workers, but other unsung heroes from different departments within the Georgetown community. What about some of the cooks at our favourite dining halls, or even the construction workers who we often walk past on our way to class? What about the utilities plant workers who control heating and cooling for every building on campus but have never interacted with students, or the service worker who stays on campus for days to shovel the snow just so that our streets are safe for us to walk on? I wanted to give back somehow and as I got to know them on a personal level, I thought about sharing their unique stories and putting them in the spotlight. Every worker has a unique story. We just have to take the time to listen and acknowledge,” he says.