Roxanne works in an industrial paint booth. Earlier on the day I met her, there was an accident in the booth. It seems a paint canister became highly pressurized, and it exploded paint all over Roxanne and her coworker. Fortunately, Roxanne was wearing her safety eyewear. Unfortunately, it was her only pair of glasses. Subsequent attempts to remove the paint only fogged up the lenses, obscuring her vision. Hence my meeting her.
She was still wearing her (now completely silver) cap when I saw her for the first time, and when she removed it I noticed her neatly shaven head, complete with a mohawk. “When I woke up this morning, I had hair like hers,” she said, referring to one of our Certified Paraoptometrics. Her hair was well below shoulder length. Roxanne had been forced to shave her head due to the massive volume of paint that had coated her hair!
Interestingly, Roxanne was in a fantastic mood. Here she was, no glasses and very little hair, making my day better with her attitude. Another staff member at LaFollette Eye Clinic noted that if she had to shave her head she’d be curled up in a corner weeping. So why was Roxanne so happy?
I’ve learned the best way to get the answer to a question is to ask it, so I did: “How on earth are you not more upset about what’s happened today?”
“It’s just hair,” she said. “I’m ok and my partner is ok, neither of us got hurt. The equipment can be replaced, and I still have my job. Besides, I’ve had hair this short before.”
Taking the bait, I asked why. And it turns out Roxanne was a member of the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. That’s right. Before she was dodging exploding paint canisters she was jumping out of perfectly good airplanes for the United States Army. Where, she informed me, “there is no whining.” No wonder she was in such a good mood!
I thanked her profusely for making my day. Not because she is a woman with a mohawk, but because she displayed such a thankful attitude on a day most of us would write off as one of our worst. Thanks again, Roxanne. I never know when I’ll learn a life lesson, but it seems you taught me a valuable one.