*DISCLAIMER: This is a story about stepping in human doo-doo, if you didn’t quite catch the headline. So if poop stories aren’t your thing, do not proceed forward. You’re welcome*
I stepped in human poop on two separate occasions when I worked as a cashier at a grocery store. But it was that second time I stepped in human feces when I realized that in order to change my circumstances, I had to change my attitude.
I detested my cashier job with every ounce of blood in my body. It burned my biscuits that I had to work as a cashier to begin with. I’m a college graduate, and at the time I was working in an MBA program, I am a veteran, and I couldn’t find suitable employment in my field (communications). These factors ran me hot, but I also knew that my son could not eat love, so I had to do what I had to do.
The first time it happened, I left the register to use the restroom. So I ran to the bathroom, (instinctively) sat in the squat position, and did my business.
As I was doing my biz, I noticed that I was standing in something that looked like Indian food. Seriously, it looked like someone spilled chicken curry all over the floor. I asked myself mid-stream, “Why am I standing in Indian food, and why is it all over the floor? We don’t even sell Indian food.”
Then I smelled it. I was standing in human poop, and it was everywhere – all over the floor, in the sink, and a little on the trashcan. I was so grossed out! I wiped the poop from my work boots, and told the unfortunate soul who had to clean it. I also informed the boss, who laughed a little.
The next day, another cashier at my store excused herself to go the restroom. A few minutes later, she came back, and her face was almost gray (she’s a dark skinned black woman). She starts telling me that there was poop inside of the sink, and she found the culprit – a 12-year-old girl.
So I said, “Good! Did you tell the manager?” Her response? “No! Couldn’t we get sued for that?”
I knew then I had to change jobs, and fast. But I was more angry that I stood in human poop, and that my boss laughed at me because I stood in shit, so then cried about it. After that, I just kept wondering why my life sucked so bad? I kept asking God why he would be so cruel to allow me, someone who would never hurt a flea, to step in human poop.
The next time it happened was when I took the shift of a bagger who had a death in the family.
As a bagger, we have to clean the restrooms, bag groceries, get carts, restock the shelves, etc. Early in the shift, my manager pulled me and another bagger off to the side, and told us that some dude pooped on the floor in the men’s restroom. He had also left his poopy drawers next to a steaming pile of poop on the floor. And he needed us to clean it up as best as we could.
The other bagger that I worked with this day said that he would clean up what he could, but I had to do the rest.
As much as I hated this situation, not once did I think that the other bagger, who I consider a good friend, respected me so much that he did not want me to clean up all of that crap alone. That was sweet of him.
By the time he finished, there were still poop marks on the side of the urinal, and I had already stepped in a very minute pile. Instead of thinking, “Well at least I don’t have much to clean,” I cried.
I cried so hard that day. Every chance I got to hide from my boss, I cried like a baby. Later, my husband came into the store to grab some items for dinner before picking me up. I told him what happened, and he rocked me while I cried some more.
“Babe, our situation is going to change, because I have faith in us," he said to me. “When are you going to have faith, and believe in the power of change too?”
I hadn’t thought about it that way. Later that night, I decided to take his advice. Instead of basking in my negative thoughts, I put a plan into action. I told myself that if I could not find work in my field, that I was going to apply for a job as a high school government teacher. If that did not work, I was going to go back to college for something else.
I had chosen to stop allowing any situation to grind me down. I had a friend who was willing to clean crap with me, which is more than what I could say about many of my friends, and a husband who believed in me. What more could I ask for?
Soon after the second poop incident, I started sending out my resume and eventually accepted a job in my field. Not long after that, a contact that I met with my local school district called me about my credentials – she was interested in talking with me more about becoming a teacher. So I had a new job, and a phone interview for another one. How awesome was that?
Needless to say, both sh-t incidents humbled me, and oddly enough, it taught me that no situation is permanent - not the poop, the job, or my feelings. At the time, I didn't realize it, but what I was doing was blocking my blessings with my negative thinking. It was okay for me to be angry about the situation (I mean, who wouldn't be mad that they stepped in sh-t?). But dwelling on it was keeping me in my sh-tty situation, because I wasn't making any moves to improve my future.
Plus, how stupid would I look giving up a steady paycheck, that was actually sustaining me and my family, just because I stepped in sh-t? As much as I hated to admit it, I was teaching my son the importance of waiting for your blessing, because sometimes you have to walk through some dookie to get there.
Either way, you have to believe in yourself, and the power of change.