Martha Grimes looked down at her Timex watch, 9:14. She had just a little more that an hour before her shift was over. She pushed her cleaning cart down the hall of Brown, Brown and Little, LLC towards the executive suite. Martha always did the executive suite last so she could make sure it was the cleanest place in the building. Martha, a 51 year old divorced mother of three, was the cleaning lady for the ninth floor. She was a proud woman and a good mother. Her oldest son, John, was a Naval officer, having just completed his last year at the Naval Academy. Julie, her middle daughter was a junior at Stanford majoring in biometric engineering, what ever that was and her baby, Marcy was getting ready to graduate from high school and had a full ride scholarship to Baylor University to study ecology. Yes sir, Martha was a proud mother.
Martha Grime's husband had been killed when Marcy was just a baby. The commuter train wreck had been the fault of Amtrak and the settlement had been enough to pay off their mortgage and to ensure that their father was properly buried, but did not ensure that monthly bills were paid or that there was food on their table. So Martha continued to work as a custodian. But her kids were the shinning light in her life. All three knew how hard their mother worked and they worked just hard in their own way, each going to college on scholarships, never putting a drain on the family pocketbook.
The board room was the next stop on Martha's route and when she opened the doors and looked into the room, she was amazed. She was always amazed when she saw this room, its huge mahogany doors opening into a vast expanse that was probably the same square footage as her home. It had a center table that seated at least twenty people, a private bar at the far end, and phone, fax and teleconferencing equipment around the room. Martha took out her special wood oil that she had invented and began applying it on the table top. The chairs were next. This oil, which she had worked on for several years, not only cleaned a wood, any wood for that matter, but put a shine that wouldn't rub off on anything that was set upon it, but did shine for days, regardless of wear and tear.
Once the board room was finished she was off to the executive offices. She pushed her cart into the grand foyer of the executive suite and noticed that the lights were still on in Mr. Dan's office. Mr. Dan was the Senior Vice President of Brown, Brown and Little. His father, Daniel Reeves Brown Sr., had founded the company some forty five years ago and they were still one of the most prestigious law firms in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Dan often worked late and Martha liked his work ethic. Yup, Mr. Dan was a great executive and she hoped her children would be as successful as Mr. Dan.
Dan heard the carts wheels squeaking. He looked up and saw Martha, the housekeeper pushing her cart into the foyer. "Good evening Martha how are you tonight?"
"Oh, I'm just fine Mr. Dan. Working late again I see. You know as the boss you should keep more regular hours."
Dan laughed out loud. "Yea, right Martha, regular hours... heck, these are regular hours. My dad used to work twice as long as I do."
"Well Mr. Dan, no disrespect, but maybe that's why he died as young as he did."
Dan watched Martha as she began her routine cleaning of the offices. It was nothing new to him; he had watched her for over twenty years. Night after night, cleaning the offices his father had founded. She was a good looking woman he knew, long dark brown hair falling just over her shoulders, green eyes and a nice figure. He guessed that she was almost 5'6" and probably not more than 110 pounds. She had nice small breasts that always stood out in her uniform. He wondered why she had never remarried when her husband died. And her kids, god, they were great. Martha had always kept him abreast of their achievements. He sometimes wished he would have been lucky enough to find someone like Martha in his life, but he had never been lucky in love.
Martha rubbed her oil into the chairs in Dan's office and looked at her handiwork. They looked good. She emptied his trash and cleaned off his small conference table. She was obvious to Dan as he typed on his computer and had no idea that he was watching her as she worked.
Martha had just left Dan's office when she felt the pain. It was a searing pain that ran up her left arm and into her shoulder. "Oh God," she cried and collapsed on the floor. The last thing she remembered was falling on the carpet and thinking that her children needed her and she wasn't ready to leave this earth.
There was a huge bright light and when Martha opened her eyes she imagined she was in heaven, and then she heard all the commotion going on around her.
"God Damn nurse, I said 3cc of ephedrine. Now get in this woman's I.V.!"
"Yes doctor, I'm sorry."
"Doctor needed in room 7, stat!"
She realized she was in an emergency room - somewhere. How had she gotten here? What had happened to her? Then she remembered the searing pain and falling down ont the carpet. Oh God, I've had a heart attack she thought.
"Martha? How are you feeling?"
She looked over and saw Mr. Dan smiling down at her. "Oh I guess I'm OK. What happened? How did I get here?"
"I think you may have had a heart attack. I heard you fall and called 9-11. I followed the ambulance to the hospital."
"Oh God Mr. Dan, my insurance won't cover this and I don't have the money to..."
"Shush Martha; I'm picking up the tab. I can't loose one of the best housekeepers in the world. Don't worry I've got everything under control."
But Martha was worried. She couldn't take money from this man, regardless how long she had known him. It wasn't right. No, she had to find a way to pay him back.
The doctor looked at Dan with concern. "Look Mr. Brown, she doesn't need any hospitalization, what she does need is some nursing home care."
"But her health plan doesn't cover anything like that."
"I'm sorry Mr. Brown; the social worker will give you some options. Ah, here she is now. Ms. Wilson, Mr. Brown. Sorry, I've got to run."
Mr. Brown, I'm Rita Wilson, social services. Doctor Williams has explained the case to me and I understand that your wife doesn't have insurance that covers a stay in a nursing home, so..."
"Look Ms. Wilson. Martha isn't my wife; she is a housekeeper in my office building."
"Oh. Oh dear, I thought... well maybe... I see. Well Mr. Brown, she needs some nursing care. Generally that can be provided in a nursing home or by a private care nurse. I understand about her insurance, but maybe Medicaid can cover some of her care needs."
"Ms. Wilson. Please arrange for a private duty nurse to care for her at my home. Here is my address and all of the bills are to be sent to me. Am I clear?"
"Yes Sir Mr. Brown. I'll make sure there is a nurse on the case in the morning."
Dan walked back into the cubicle where Martha was laying on a gurney. "Look Martha, you need some home care and I've agreed to have you transferred to my home and a private duty nurse will be there to take care of you starting tomorrow. Is there anything else I can do for you tonight?"