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Unsung Heroes

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

The title “Unsung Heroes” may remind you of the song by Beverley Staunton from Phineas and Ferb the Movie,

“Nobody sees him, he's not looking for glory

He's not looking for applause”.

However, this article is not about Perry. It is about the unrecognized people we see every day yet fail to notice their nobility, the people society looks down on most of the time, and the people the majority is disgusted by. It’s about the people who rarely receive a "Thank you". They are the janitors, street sweepers, and road maintenance workers.

When you go to college or work, you see how clean the road is. But do you ever appreciate it?

Most of the time, no.

On the contrary, if you see a single piece of garbage by the road, you might think the street sweepers are tardy and say they aren’t doing their job properly.

Photo credits: Nazly Ahamed

Street sweepers start their job early in the morning, sweeping and collecting roadside garbage including the plastic water bottle someone threw away to the pavement because they were too lazy to find a dustbin or dispose it when they got home. It’s the same with road maintenance workers. They maintain the roadside plants, the grass and fix any defects in the road such as potholes, maintain sewerage, and create dividing lines to make the roads as well as its surrounding pleasant. These people work early in the morning, late in the night and even under extreme weather conditions. Plus, they worked during the Covid-19 pandemic as well. Unlike us, they could not work from home and stay safe and sound.

Photo credits: DPWH

Janitors keep office buildings, colleges, hotels, shops, and hospitals clean and uncontaminated. Many recognized and appreciated the healthcare personnel’s effort and hard work amidst the pandemic. On the other hand, how many people appreciated the service the janitors did to provide a better working environment to the healthcare personnel and the patients to recover? Did they not put their lives in danger too when working?

Photo credits: istock

The irony is all the people mentioned before are clad in orange to make them visible and highlighted in public, yet they are unseen to most of us. These blue-collar workers live in the shadows, hiding from the eyes of a society that only brings them shame and hurt. It is said that we only appreciate the luxuries we have only after we lose them, so, imagine how catastrophic the world would be if these people were not here. There would be heaps of garbage, overgrown weeds, roads full of potholes, blocked drainage, unpleasant odours and so on. We don’t even want to imagine that because it is extremely unhygienic. Now, you may understand how important these people are to our lives and they deserve our respect and applause just like the white-collar workers. We have a better living, studying, and working environment thanks to them.

As the youth, we should learn to notice as well as appreciate them. We should try to give them a better and more comfortable working environment, just like how they provide us with a clean and a pleasant environment to look at every day. When you see garbage collectors passing by, giving them a friendly nod is better than making comments like “Ew!”, frowning or covering your nose. They are working to make OUR environment pleasant, and they deserve our appreciation for that. Next time, when you are passing by a janitor from your college or workplace, stop and say, “Thank you” or give them a thumbs up. Bid all these heroes a “Good morning!” or “Have a good day!” too. This one simple act of kindness can make his or her day a whole lot better. If you are lucky enough, you may even get to see their invisible capes.

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