Every night, they had the same routine.
The Georgetown University business student would settle in for his cram session — soda, chips, books lined up.
And the janitor would come in to start his night shift — polishing each of the windows in the study room, moving amid all those books and chips and sodas. Invisible.
“There was this space, like ice separating us,” said Oneil Batchelor, an immigrant from Jamaica. The janitor worked around the students — many of them in their 20s like him, many with entrepreneurial ambitions like him — for nearly a decade before one of them finally broke that ice last year.
A nod one night. A hello the next.
And within weeks, Batchelor and the student, Febin Bellamy, were having long talks about being immigrants, about wanting to be entrepreneurs, about politics and history and music. Bellamy even went to Batchelor’s church and met his 6-year-old daughter.
After he formed that bond with the once-invisible worker, Bellamy couldn’t stop noticing the others.
“Once you see it, you can’t unsee it,” the 22-year-old said.
The minimum-wage cafeteria workers dishing up food, the locker-room attendant scrubbing the stinkiest places, the maintenance man doing backbreaking work in the garden while students maneuver around him, heads bowed to their phones.
It’s not just affluence, age and pedigree that create this yawning gap at a school where tuition and room and board run more than $65,000 a year.
“Everybody’s in their own world,” Bellamy said. “A lot of students have good hearts and were raised right, it’s just not always easy for them to get to know people around them.”
Source: The Washington Post | Petula Dvorak