THE INVISIBLE PEOPLE: Story Behind the Stories, Chapter 4 April 20, 2023 By Michele Meyer Leave a Comment Household confidential THE LESSON: “I’m not really a waitress” is one of OPI’s all-time bestselling nail enamels—and it’s a good reminder. Everyone has dreams, no matter how they pay the rent. Keeping that in mind, the kinder and more open you are, the more likely you’ll succeed in business. In my case, I’ve broken major stories by going the extra step to interview housekeepers, taxi drivers and others often overlooked. Whatever you do for a living, appreciate that the “invisible people”—the ones many ignore—may have as fascinating backgrounds and ambitious goals as the prominent. I know because I once was a hotel maid, one of the people whose eyes you avoided while I kinda cleaned your toilet. Hey, I’m no saint. As if! But I could strip and make a king-sized bed immaculately, with hospital corners, in nine minutes. Impressive, huh? Room without a view Not to the head housekeeper, who chugged from a whisky flask while timing me. A head housekeeper essential–apparently. Fail. The expected time: 4½ minutes. Times up. But even slow housekeepers, in hotel parlance, earn their pay. Have you had to pick up a stranger’s soiled panties from the floor—or on occasion, restore order to a completely trashed room? I’d also never seen hashish before I had to clean a tub a quarter full of it. Perhaps its potency explains how the guests were able to slash the “art” and rip it from the wall, and move the king-sized bed. And in case you’re wondering the size of the tip that party animal left behind, it was nothing, nada, zip. It’s a dirty job. Three weeks was all I could handle as a maid, even at a Midwest city’s finest hotel. Yours truly, in the hotel’s bowels. But I did have stories. And years later, I suggested to author Elaine Viets that hotel maids would be perfect for her Dead-End Job Mystery series. So I spilled my escapades in cleaning–and her readers responded to Murder With Reservations. Her book and her credit, of course. Not mine. I was still invisible. But I did gain–in perspective. I realized that the unnoticed may have lofty aspirations. I certainly did. My array of temp and full-time summer jobs helped pay my pricey tuition at Paris’ Institut des Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) and Université of Paris IV. And they were no dead-end. As intended, my college education opened the door to my long-desired career in journalism. So get to know your hotel maid, waiter, Uber driver or neighborhood patrol–they may have fascinating stories to share. Most importantly, treat others as you’d want to be treated. Be kind. It’s free. And you can enrich two lives — theirs and your own. The payoff. Published by Michele Meyer Award-Winning Freelance Journalist, Profile Writer, Storyteller, B2C B2B Content Marketing Writer/Editor on Health/Medicine, Design, Marketing. Known for compelling, clear copy enhanced by strong visuals. Master pivoter.