The Loud Inmate Worker

But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
– Matthew 6:3 (NLT)

He surely was a different Inmate Worker assigned now to work and help out inside the Infirmary. Dressed up in the usual blue uniform, no one could miss his shadow always lurking on the far end of the Clinic. By the table. Where he and the other previous ones usually worked. He was much taller. But creepy. Always staring at each nurse that walked in and out of the main door. His ears, one could tell always listening to all conversations. Some staff was careful. Some were not as if he was invisible. 

I chose to always be careful when he would be around at the wee hours of the morning when he would start his shift. For some unknown reasons, he always caught my attention even if he wasn’t staring at me. He would come into the Clinic and would empty the trash cans. Except. I noticed the difference. The previous ones always walked in quietly after asking for permission. Working with mouth closed and not asking any of us, those ones would just assess each trash can and if full, automatically, would empty and then with each plastic liner replaced. 

Not this guy. He surely picked up and returned the trash cans with a loud noise. Asking whoever was sitting on each computer station if their trash can was full or not so he could empty them. Even if the person happened to not be sitting by the trash can he wanted to change. As his hands picked up the gray, metal cans, his eyes looked around as if he wanted to make sure that everyone knew he was doing a great job.

Thank you for picking up our trash!” I commented.

He didn’t respond. Just the usual creepy stare and then a smirk. Not like those previous ones who would even bow their heads as if I didn’t need to say thank you to their effort.

“You’re welcome, Ma’am,” was the usual answer with a big, warm smile.

As the last trash can was picked up and a loud bang created, he went back to the far end of the hallway. By the table. Staring again at everyone who walked in and out the door. 

“Deputy!” he yelled.

I’m done cleaning the trash cans. You want me to do anything else?” he loudly asked as his big voice vibrated all over the hallway.

“Hmmm….Not at this time,” the Deputy politely replied.

Those previous ones? I never heard them asked the Deputy that loud. Always in almost a whisper-like volume. Without me hearing anything, I would see them mopping the floors or opening new medical charts if done with emptying the trash cans.

Often, whenever I heard this huge Inmate Worker speaking loudly as if he was wanting to be visible among staff, I felt like he wanted his work to be known. True. He was a big help. But there was also a reason behind him working. It was not for his service to be praised and recognized. It was for him to change his heart. Toward good. Less vain. No outward show when it came to his duties. Taking the least notice of his own, good deeds…

Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. – Matthew 6:4 (NLT)
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