When I joined my job a year ago, a big,black man walked into my cube, introduced himself and started talking. He was the janitor, and he said the mandatory office ‘Hi, how are you?’ with genuine warmth. Since I stayed in the office after everybody had left, I met him several times when he was doing his evening rounds.

When I was ‘promoted’ from 1/4th of a cube to my own room, he popped in and said, “I’m really happy to see you moving forward fast, man”. His idea of spending a relaxing weekend was playing with his grandchildren.

Two weeks ago, we crossed each other once again, when I was leaving the office late. He said he needed to be more careful, and he needed all the prayer he could get. (That I don’t ‘pray’ was something I didn’t tell him.) He had a weak heart and the doctor had advised him to stay off junk food and pop. He declared he was going to make changes and stop drinking a lot of Coke. In short, he was looking forward to making amends and living some more.

He didn’t. He died two days ago, but not of a weak heart.

Konard was a real human. Konard was a good man.