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Winifred Adebayo: The Charming Bathroom Janitor



I had just arrived at the airport where I would take a connecting flight. After drinking a good amount of fluids on board, I had to get rid of the excesses.

“Hello, welcome, the first bathroom is free” – this woman greeted and signaled me to a bathroom with a broad smile on her face. Fear gripped me! I’ve never met an airport worker who was this hospitable while working in the restroom. Her positive vibe was just infectious. The more people trooped in, I noticed she did the same for everyone that walked through the doors. She diligently wiped the spills on the sink and toilet, after each person, and greeted every soul; including children. She offered to help people’s children use the toilet, and just stunned everybody with her actions.

I scanned her environment, looking for cues that might offer some justifications for her actions. At first I thought ‘eye- service’, but then there was no supervisor around to prove that. As I looked further, to my right hand, close to the end of the mirror and just before the exit, I noticed a tray with candy and jar labelled ‘tip’. That jar was blessed with cash! The more people were amazed at the strangeness of her actions, the more they squeezed out their money and tipped.

I’m used to giving tips at restaurants, airports, salons, e.t. c; but this was my first time seeing a tip-jar in the restroom, with a good amount of money in it, and people were still giving.
I’m not sure how much she made by the end of the day but I imagined she would have gone how with something more than her regular pay.
Some would argue she had that attitude because of the tips she receives, and maybe insincere with her greetings, gestures, and actions. I, however, think that’s one of the smartest women, I have ever met. She found a way to make the best of cleaning a toilet paraded by people from all parts of the country and even the world. She turned an idea into money. She cleaned people’s mess with a smile, offered to help with their children’s sanitary needs, and just had an amazing attitude about what she did. She made you feel like royalty once you walked into the restroom. She delivered a unique service to the point that once you saw the jar, you wanted to do something more to tell her thank you.

I’ve had people deliver crappy service and still expect appreciation. Most times we pray and cry for promotion or status change, but we deliver our assigned duties with a very poor standard. Watching this woman, I learned a few things. One of which is, a genuine smile can never be overestimated. Just a pleasant attitude attached to what you do; regardless of what it is, can attract favor. Some of us sit in air-conditioned office and complain from the beginning of the day till the end of the day. Sour attitudes just make everything you do look horrible!

Another thing I got to appreciate was how a simple idea could get you more money. Honestly, I never imagined I would see a tip-jar in a restroom. Maybe if I hadn’t seen it work in this case, I might not have been able to wrap my mind around giving tips to a janitor in the restroom. Regardless of whether it was her idea or not, she made the absolute best of it. She delivered her services in such a way that made sure this jar fetched her money. This restroom was so CLEAN! Coupled with her attitude towards it, I’m sure when people went out, they would direct others to go to that particular restroom and she would get more tips.

Working hard is not enough. It’s equally funny how it’s the simple things that actually have the most effect. If you want recognition, promotion, or more money, you must change the way you play your game. Add a little twist to what you do. Make it better! Be more positive about it, and don’t underestimate your ideas for improvement. Whether you get the reward immediately or later, I can assure you, you’ll be better than your counterparts. This janitor would probably make more money than any other janitor in her position.

I left that restroom challenged and motivated. I hope you are too. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Andrey Popov

Winifred Adebayo was born is Rivers State. She is a registered nurse and working on a PhD. She loves to write; it’s her form or art, designed with self-expression, experiences, and fiction. She blogs at


  1. Cheliz

    December 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I agree. Imagine what she would do with a bigger position and wider options. Wow, the sky is just the beginning for her.

  2. D main man

    December 11, 2014 at 8:14 am

    So you didnt drop something yourself after your observations…hhhahaha.. dont you know that if every person like you comes in, observes and praise the woman in their hearts….brother the next time you come into that toilet and your shout afterwards, would make an incoming pilot divert his flight to nearby airport… NO MIND ME OOH , I GET YOUR DRIFT.

  3. SuperNova

    December 11, 2014 at 8:17 am

    A good way to start the day. Little effort goes a long way. Nice post

  4. TA

    December 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

    This came in bright and early.Oh goody! Atoke I wish you had just.mentioned the particular airport so that we can mark up this smart janitor’s hustle. I like her already, alot!!! 🙂 I used to think to myself that if I ever have to hold that kind of job,lord knows I will make the biggest bucks from tips because I will be real polite and courteous. I always give extra tips to doormen,cleaners/janitors,security personnel,hair.dressers in Nigeria who are polite and hardworking and DO NOT BEG! They totally get what excellent customer service is. Nice article Atoke. U don land Lasgidi? Wetin you buy come? Hahahaha
    PS: Please do an article on ‘wetin you buy come’. My Naija pipul nor go kii me. Lmao 🙂

  5. bruno

    December 11, 2014 at 8:33 am

    so……. in the end,did you marry the bathroom janitor?

    • strides

      December 11, 2014 at 9:49 am

      lmao!!!!ur just silly!!!Bruno whr from the heavens did u fall from?still laughing and rolling!Jesus Bruno o!

  6. tutu

    December 11, 2014 at 8:40 am

    the rate of bad attitude and bad customer service is alarming to say the least.

  7. anonymous

    December 11, 2014 at 8:57 am

    It’s going to be a great day today. 2 awesome articles on bn.

  8. N. M.

    December 11, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Nice article and am highly motivated

  9. Atoke

    December 11, 2014 at 9:53 am

    There was a glitch. It has been fixed. We apologize.

  10. jummai

    December 11, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Well said. but is collecting tip a nice thing to do? Why cant she wait till she gets to heaven to get her reward? she’s already getting her reward on earth.

    • tee

      December 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Jummai, may your life not be filled with missed opportunities, because if heaven is your final destination, God will ask you why you threw away so many chances. Renew your thinking!

    • Angel

      December 11, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      @jummai, There is nothing wrong in collecting tip. Which one be wait till she gets to heaven to get her reward? haven’t u heard of employee’s incentives? Please she earned it period. If u want to tip, pls tip, if u don’t want to, pls move on, and don’t come on here trying to clear ur conscience with some religious beliefs.

    • yep...I said it!!!

      December 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      Don’t worry when you go to work tell them to hold your paychecks or if you are in business tell your clients not to bother paying you because you are waiting to get your reward in heaven. That should help you pay your bills for the next whatever years you are on earth. Right???

  11. temmyyyyyyy

    December 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    she is already enjoying her HEAVEN ON EARTH

    • zube

      December 11, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Exactly my tots

  12. AKUA

    December 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm


  13. Frances Okoro

    December 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    This is really inspiring… moreso in a country like nigeria(which I absolutely love) where we are faces with frowning faces each day.

  14. chayi

    December 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I love this. Very inspiring. Just like my story. From been a cleaner to a customer service personel in a big organization. What ever u do, please do it well.

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