"Respect for people = Respect for self"

A few months ago, I was in a lift with my 6 year-old daughter, Miya when we came to a halt while going down to the ground level.

The lift doors opened, and an Indian male foreign worker, in his 30s, also the estate's cleaner, stood outside unmoved.

I beckoned him to join us in the lift as there was ample space.

He politely declined and said, "It's ok, I can take the next lift to go down."

I was puzzled by his reply, and said to him, "Come in, there's so much space in here."

He shyly stepped in, and stood very close to the lift doors. It was obvious he was trying to stand as far away from us as possible.

I couldn't help, but asked him why he didn't want to shift in, so he can be safe away from the lift doors. He smiled at me and said, "Some residents tell me to wait and take another lift when they see me."

His words hit me, deep in my heart. 

I smiled and said, "You deserve respect, and we (I pointed to myself and Miya), respect you for who you are. Ignore the rude people, for they are in the wrong. We stand by you. You are most welcome to be part of our community, and you are contributing to our community. We have respect for you."

Just then, the lift doors opened to the ground floor. The man smiled saying, "Thank you."

We said our goodbyes and parted ways.

I turned to look at Miya and said to her, "Respect everyone, for then, you are respecting yourself."

Miya replied smiling, "Everyone deserves respect, no matter what their occupation is right?"

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