One of the worst of the "trials and tribulations" of accompanying a relative and caring for them in the hospital, is the need for your family member (and you) to avail oneself of the "facilities". As in most public places, these tend to be… AHEM…not in very pristine condition. (Often those located in out-of-the-way areas of the hospital are in better shape, but if you are caring for your relative, you often can't go too far afield.)
It so happens that the hospital where Ricki was treated at has a large amount of integration: Arabs and Jews work side by side. Many of the doctors, and several of the nurses are Arab, and the staff relations seem to be good. However, the cleaning staff is virtually (as far as I could see), non-Jewish.
When I first entered the bathroom near Ricki's hospital room, I was full of qualms, even though it looked rather decent. So using paper towels and hand disinfectant, I cleaned the seat for Ricki. But as the day wore on, the room got worse and worse. The seat I could clean, but at one point the floor became so full of dirt that we went to another room, which was slightly better.
The next morning a slim lovely-looking young Arab lady, about my married daughter's age, arrived. After she cleaned the toilet, I voiced my thanks, adding that I understand that her job is not easy or pleasant. She seemed to appreciate this, and every morning on her arrival I would greet her with a smile. She, in turn, allowed me to stay in the room with Ricki when she mopped, and she always gave Ricki a big smile.
So I was patting myself on the back for following Rabbi Miller's advice to always thank workers for what they do. I figured that I had maybe even made a miniscule impact in Jewish and Arab relations in Israel.
That is, until about five days later, when this young lady mentioned that she has a cousin with Down syndrome. It was simply Ricki who had taken her heart.
enjoy your Rabbi's suggestion; your attempt at Jewish-Arab integration and the probable real reason for her interest in your family
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