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.
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.
Monday, March 27, 2017
The miraculous journey of a street sweeper turned author
Christa Polkinhorn, originally from Switzerland, lives and works as writer and translator in the Los Angeles area, California. She divides her time between the United States and Switzerland and has strong ties to both countries. She is the author of five novels and a collection of poems. Her travels and her interest in foreign cultures inform her work and her novels take place in several countries. Aside from writing and traveling, she is an avid reader and a lover of the arts, dark chocolate, and red wine.