One recent Saturday evening, “Jacob” was preparing for his company’s Christmas party. He said that he had not attended a Christmas party before and this would be his first. His eyes beamed with excitement because many of his co-workers were also going. While he was excited for this party, Jacob is quite reserved and shy. He told me that the venue would be in this big classy hotel and he was worried that he might feel left-out so he brought along a friend as he had tickets for two to the party.
Jacob came out of his room wearing a striking navy blue dress shirt that matched his midnight blue pants and black shoes. There was one problem though - his dress shirt was badly crumpled and needed to be pressed. Jacob came to me and requested for an iron. I brought him the iron and the ironing board and watched him press his shirt from a distance. From where I was, I noticed that he looked awkward in holding the iron and in positioning his shirt on the ironing board. I went to see how he was doing and noticed that the other side of his shirt was wet. When asked about this, he smiled and said that he was squirting water way too much. He told me that he has never ironed his shirt before and I could see disappointment in his face.
Aha, what a profound moment to teach Jacob ironing 101! I took the iron and showed him how to press his shirt - from mounting the shirt on the board, to adjusting the heat of the iron, to proper body posture, we covered them all step by step. I proceeded to iron his shirt while having a conversation. At one point, he asked me how I learned to iron my shirt to which I replied that it was from my mother that I learned it. There was an awkward silence that followed. For a short moment, I was drawn to reflect the reason why I continue work here. To break the ice, I suggested to him that perhaps I could teach him how to iron his clothes as part of his life skills at ROP. The job was only three fourths done when I handed him the iron so he could finish the back of his shirt. When he was done, he took his shirt out of the ironing board beaming with joy in seeing his dry and well-pressed shirt. He thanked me and I complimented him for the job well-done for a first timer.