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Monday, March 27, 2017

The miraculous journey of a street sweeper turned author

Michel Simonet, a citizen of the town of Fribourg in the French part of Switzerland, went to college, studied theology ... and became a street sweeper--yes a street sweeper or street cleaner--in his hometown. Today, he is the most famous street sweeper in Fribourg as well as in whole Switzerland and beyond. Michel Simonet loves his job and wouldn't want any other kind of work. And this, in spite of the fact, that he published a book, which became a bestseller.

You see, the book is about his thirty years sweeping the streets of Fribourg, meeting and getting to know all kinds of people, from CEOs, CFOs to blue collar workers, mothers and fathers with their children, everyday people with their struggles and joys. All these experiences he collected and wrote about in his book, Une rose et un ballai, in English With a Broom and a Rose.

The book is a lyrical tribute to his profession, a profession he is proud of. The title of the book shows his "trademark"--a rose he gets every morning before starting his work from a flower store and attaches to his wheelbarrow. It symbolizes his work: beauty within ugliness.

And anybody who ever looked down on blue collar worker or minimum wage earners, should take note. Every job, when done well and with pride, deserves our respect.

I'm proud of you, Michel Simonet, not just because you wrote a book but because you contribute to society by making part of our cities more beautiful.

Here is a short article in English and a picture of him: Musings of a Street Cleaner.

Here is a video in French about Michel Simonet: YouTube Video

Article in German: Freiburgs berühmtester Straßenwischer hat ein Buch geschrieben.


  1. How wonderful. I love stories about real people like this. Michel Simonet is a hero in so many ways. The world needs more folks like him!

    1. Thanks, Darlene. Isn't this the truth? Stories like these give me hope that not all is bad with the world!