Our friendship started off in probably the worst possible way. I think it was my first or second month on the job. It could have been a hangover or it could have been some spoiled leftovers that left my stomach feeling queasy that morning, I don’t remember. But I do remember having the sudden urge to puke. I made it all the way to the bathroom, but didn’t quite make it to the stall, throwing up in the last sink before the toilets and clogging it completely.
I decided to be responsible and notified facilities. A little while later I had to go to the bathroom again and saw the janitor cleaning up my mess. I remember feeling really bad about the mess and apologizing to the janitor. He gave me a fist bump and said, “Don’t worry about it, hope you feel better.” Over the next two and a half years, whenever we passed each other in the vast hallways at CalPERS, he would greet me with a fist bump.
It’s funny how sometimes you don’t need to say much to be encouraging. Sure we would talk sometimes, about weekend plans, or about the weather, typical small talk stuff. But what really spoke to me was that almost daily fist bump. It encouraged me to have a better attitude towards work, to be more cheerful and thankful.
Today was my last day at CalPERS. To the many people who I’ve worked with and learned from over the years I sent an email thanking them. To a handful of people I shook their hands and said farewell in person. To Alejandro it was one last fist bump, a handshake, and a thanks.