Reflections from a car wash

I took our car for one of those handwash services at a petrol station.

Till now, our 1 year 2 month old car has only ever been washed and polished by Roboman (okay I helped twice). He refused to let anyone else wash it. Partly because he was afraid of bad handling, and partly because he enjoys the time of peaceful solitude when he gets down to cleaning the car. I must say he does a really good job too. He did not have time the last few weeks though, so I decided to drive to a car wash.

The car wash had 3 attendants. One to do the soaping and rinsing. The second to clean the wheels and rims. The third to dry the car. I was quite interested in how the processes were marked out.

Then I saw the 2nd guy. I recognised him as a young Indonesian man who used to be one of the cleaners at our office. He always wears a smile, and he was no different at the car wash. I smiled at him and he smiled shyly, with recogition. I was happy to see him still gainfully employed, and with the same positivity about him.

I didn't get to speak with him, as I was in the car with water splashing all over outside. But when my car was being dried, I stepped out to talk to the older man who was doing the drying. I told him that I recognised his colleague, and asked that he said "hi" for me. He agreed to do so.

The older man then asked me in Mandarin how many days am I getting off work for Chinese New Year. "2 days only", I replied, "The first and second day." I said it in a manner that indicated that I didn't think the number of days off were enough. I wanted to eat my words when he responded with a "Wow, so good, we have to work throughout those 2 days." He then proceeded to tell me how they have to wash up to 200 cars per day on a weekends.

I looked at his wrinkled hands and asked why he didn't wear gloves. He said they made it difficult for him to do his job properly.

With my car dried, we wished each other a Happy New Year. As I drove off, I saw him taking a (perhaps much needed) cigarette break.

Somehow, I left the patrol station with much to think about. I think I will be back to see them.


Anonymous said...

much to think about indeed.

i always wondered why they don't wear gloves.

and i'm amazed that the itch/scabs on their hands are not as important to them as doing their jobs well.

i have much to learn.

celcilia_tjioe said...

Means tat you have a good service that can bait you there again in the near future.

~tif;fany* said...

aye babe, i think youve got a heart for them. =)

darn jia lat to be working throughout CNY. =\

Jacinta said...

Indeed, we have SO much to be thankful for.

Go bless 'em! :)))

Anonymous said...

Which kiosk did you go to? I miss our old cleaners cuz they were always so nice and helpful. So hardworking also.
Sometimes my mom prepares ang baos for these people who work on CNY. I'm thinking I'll do the same for cleaners in my estate if I bump into them. =)


Anonymous said...

I always feel very sad when I see the old cleaners at the coffeeshops. They are old and wrinkled but yet cleaning up after people, using their bare hands to sweep half eaten bones and stuff that people spit out onto the table. The work they have to do for probably not a lot of money.

You could buy cold drinks for them when you next go for your car wash! I think they would appreciate it with the hot weather and the hard work they do!

eveeleva said...

don't mean to burst everyone's cosy happy bubble...but some of these carwash companies can really rip your money ok...i've been to a couple where they do such a slap dash job...and your car doesn't look that much better after...but sounds like these folks have some pride in their work. these are the pple we should encourage with our continued business. =)

but the hongbaos thing is really nice. in fact you know, the delivery guys who send us the mcs or kfc etc, i try and give them a little tip when they deliver. cos they get paid $2 per delivery. And many try and squeeze as many deliveries as possible. Some also have to provide their own bikes and pay for their own fuel etc. =(

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

imp: I was thinking that just having a job is so important that personal comfort and sacrifice of holidays is an acceptable trade-off. We've much to learn indeed!

celcilia: Yes I think I'll be there more often.

tiffany: Yeah, I felt quite sorry for him when he said that. Esp since it seemed to be something weighing on his mind.

jacinta: =))

SF: Yes we did that too last year! For our security guards and cleaners. I went to Shell near Anchorpoint.

amanda: That's a good idea! I always prepare cold drinks when I get delivery people come to my place. I'll remember that for car washes too next time :)

bagelgal: Yes I'm sure. I haven't gone in a car wash for a really long time, but these chaps definitely did a good job. Even Roboman (the more cynical one) commented that the car rims were well done too. Good tip about fast food delivery! I'll remember that

Anonymous said...

yes, they were washing on cny. we were there (oops, not supposed to wash cars). fern and i decided to give them ang pows :)

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

shitanley: That's nice of you! I can't imagine many people going to get their cars washed that day though!