I park in the parking garage and walk a block to work. That way my car is under cover and isn’t so blazingly hot at the end of my work day, which seems worth the small hike back and forth. As I walk from the garage, there is a narrow walk between two buildings before I get to the sidewalk, cross the street, and walk to the end of the block and my office.

In the narrow alley is the vent to the hair salon’s dryer. It always smells of fabric softener. It is pleasant and overrides the fumes of permanent solution or dye smells. But as I walked through there, I noticed that there were wisps of lint flying out of the vent and collecting on the sidewalk in a puddle of water.

I have recently read about dryers not being vented properly and being the cause of fires. I put this factoid together with the lint spewing from the vent and thought to myself, “This is a fire hazard” and walked on to my car because I was in a hurry to get home. I arrived home and spent the weekend in peace.

On Monday, I was going to stop, but they are closed on Monday. I never realized that. So I again went home and didn’t bother. On Tuesday, on my way back to my car, I stopped in and the front desk was busy and I peeked around the corner and tried to catch the eye of an employee who studiously evaded my glance and looked over my head and quickly away. I waited another couple minutes and then figured I didn’t really care if their place burned down, I was just trying to be nice. I went home less peaceful.

On Wednesday, I was too irritated to try to save them from themselves. I often see people outside trying to get cancer or various other lung diseases and I figured the next time I saw someone out there smoking I would mention it to them. But I wasn’t going out of my way anymore.

Luckily, the next day, there was someone out there smoking. I told her about the lint and the fire hazard. She told me I needed to go and talk to her boss. I told her that I had gone inside once and was totally ignored and it was no skin off my nose if the entire place burned to the ground. It wouldn’t, of course. The building is brick. Just the insides would be destroyed, but that would put them out of business anyway.

I came home irritated. Here I was trying to be a nice person. I found someone who worked there and told them what the problem was and how serious it might be and thought that should be enough. I didn’t spend a lot of time fuming, but I was saddened by the “it’s not my job” mentality. When I see something that needs done either at work or at home, or like this even out in the world at large, I do something. The woman who worked at the place had a much larger stake in keeping the business running than I did (although I have had my hair cut there once and they did a great job), but it was too much for her to now take this information to her boss. I was supposed to do that for her.

On Monday, as I walked to work, I noticed that the entire area had been cleaned up and the wisps of lint were no longer protruding from the vent. My faith in humanity was restored and I smiled to myself.

She told on me. Thank you anonymous worker bee. You did good. I hope they did more than cosmetically fix the problem and I hope they are still in business when I next decide to cut my hair.