Thank goodness for the little people.

I hope I am forever considered to be one.

Work Placement. 

In year one of my most enduring business.

I got a phone call from an eager and enthusiastic mum.

Asking if I’d meet her 15-year-old, 2-week placement seeking daughter.

I said yes.

Saturday. 

The following Saturday morning, Jane stepped from her mum’s car outside our office.

And after taking an unusually long time to scale the stairs.

Much longer than most.

Her smile eventually entered the room.

Followed a split second later by Jane herself.

Little People. 

Jane knew very little about what our business actually did.

(Luckily, Jane didn’t realise that I knew very little, too).

And she started her two week placement as a receptionist and database-builder the following Monday.

Even though typing with one hand would clearly mean she’d be slow.

And her uniquely stuttering gait.

That moved her forward slowly, in small circles as opposed to straight lines would mean Jane would not, on the face of it at least, bring much in the way of (say) bringing in stationery deliveries for her temporary, 10-working-day stint.

No matter.

Her smile was enough.

The Beginning of The End. 

When I closed my businesses.

14 years later.

I was tired of being busy.

Tired of being big.

Tired of the awards and working with big brands, employing big teams of big people with big mouths and big ideas, and tired of selling tens of millions of pounds worth of whateverthefuckitwasthatweactuallydid.

I’d had enough.

The End. 

After those 14 long years.

I turned to our office manager Jane.

The woman who had, two years earlier won North East Secretary of the Year.

Beating many, many big, big people to the big prize.

And we both knew it was over.

Two things.

Around that time, I realised two things about Jane.

First, that we’d never really spoken about her cerebral palsy at all.

Rarely beyond me asking, on the days when the typing and the walking wavered further, if she was alright.

Because on the days when the typing and the walking wavered further, Jane’s smile did not.

And second, I realised that 14 years on, Jane was the very same person she was when she wandered in for her two week placement.

She was never changed by the fact she was considered by those that knew her to be one of the most accomplished office managers around.

She was still little.

And she was still smiling.

Little People.

Thank goodness for the little people.

I hope I am forever considered to be one.

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