In April 1981, Mayo Clinic recognized its hard-working custodians. Rarely seen, custodians exert quiet influence on image.
Only a muffled voice drifting through an empty corridor breaks the silence that closing hour has brought to Mayo. A magazine rests on a couch in the sixth floor waiting room of the Mayo Building, the only reminder of the day’s surge of patients who anxiously awaited word about their health. Bright, colorful chairs at Desk C in the Hilton Building stand ready for the next morning’s throng of fasting patients nervous about their impending blood tests. A sinking sun bathes the courtyard in the fastly fading blue light of evening. It’s 7 o’clock. Patients have returned to their hotels and guest rooms. Consultants have gone home or are making hospital rounds. Paramedical employees are tending to their families after spending the day tending to patients.
But the day is far from over at Mayo. Much work remains before the first patient comes through the doors in the morning. Floors must be mopped, carpets vacuumed, desks dusted, restrooms cleaned, and waste baskets emptied. A thousand tasks remain before the desk attendant calls the first name tomorrow.
It is in this nightly stillness that an army of custodians launches an assault from 5:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. on every waiting room, office, examining room, laboratory, restroom, elevator, hallway, every nook, and every cranny of Mayo.