In the middle of my recent illness (described copiously in previous posts) as I lay supine wondering if my end was nigh, I discovered on television the unexpectedly heart lifting programme called Undercover Boss USA.
I have watched the U K version a couple of times and thought it was a very good idea. For any who do not know , this follows the owner or CEO of a company who disguises her/himself and works at the coal face so to speak. In this way they find out about any problems which are not highlighted through the normal avenues. Of course, this gives them the chance to meet workers and find out what they really think. In many cases they come across those who are quietly working away, doing their best in often very apparently menial circumstances. At the end all is revealed and the boss meets with certain individuals at the end and reveals her/himself. In the UK version, they may be given a photo or be invited to a big dinner as a token of the deeply felt appreciation for the efforts these individuals have made.
I was unprepared therefore for the levels of appreciation reached in the US show. Oh my God, college debts were paid off, family holidays paid for plus expenses, cars bought , medical bills paid… and even a house bought for someone. A house! Story after story is told of people with many hardships but nevertheless who make no complaints but just get on with it; working hard and with pride in what they do. In each programme, the boss becomes very moved by the plights or the hard work and positive attitude of the workers encountered. They realise how much their business depends on these people… how important they are. This seems to be a life changing experience for many of these bosses. They are often in tears , especially when they are meeting these workers at the end and are making them gifts of money etc in recognition for what they have discovered.
I sit and sob with the recipients who can’t believe that a stranger is giving them such help… the first help many have ever received in their lives.The pressure of debt is taken off their shoulders , true recognition of their worth has an astonishingly emotional resonance for them, further educational opportunities are paid for, in some cases job shifts upwards with greater salaries. These are not bosses but fairy godparents.
As each of these programmes comes to an end, I feel warmed through that there are people first of all working solidly with such positivity even though they are living under many difficulties. My heart almost bursts for them as I think of their stoicism… and then there are these enlightened bosses who are so humbled by these workers that they give not only some of their wealth to them but also pay them the respect which they had never been given before. I am thankful that such humanity exists in such apparently mundane surrounds.
As I see it the undercover heroes are these hard working folks, in low paid jobs , just getting on with each day as best they can.