When we opened Chameleon 15 years ago I sought to hire a seamstress to be an in-house workroom for those who could not sew their own pillows. I went to Alan Hancock Vocational Training, interviewed 3 potential seamstresses who were learning English as well as commercial sewing. I chose Guadalupe because she explained that she was a single parent with 4 children, 2 of whom had Cystic Fibrosis. Guadalupe was a field worker and needed a job with flexibility so she could more readily attend to her teenage daughter Jessica.
Guadalupe turned out to be a God-Send. Though she only had a first grade education she had a real talent for sewing and most of all quality and integrity. My pretty fluent Spanish helped us both learn the tools of the trade together, round table cloths, duvets, bed skirts, valances etc.
One of our first workroom jobs was to fashion a duvet cover out of a fitted king sheet for an elderly lady. Lupe took great care over several days to match and piece in the corners and reposition the lace as the customer requested. When the lady came to pick it up she screamed. I ran to see what was wrong. The customer was trembling. “How could you have put in a brown zipper?” she cried.
I commented that the zipper was beige but was totally concealed and did not show. The lady continued to fixate on the brown zipper. I asked her to find any other complaints besides the zipper. She made some comments and I began folding the duvet for her to take at no charge. I explained that the workmanship was the closest to perfection that I could imagine. She could try to find someone else to change the zipper. She left grumbling. I felt horrible.
When I went upstairs to the workroom, Guadalupe (with a smile) asked how the lady liked the duvet. I responded to Guadalupe that she had done an excellent job but that the lady was not happy with the beige zipper. I expected Lupe to be cynical about the incident but instead she smiled and said to me, “What a wonderful life that lady must have that all she has to complain about is the color of a zipper”. It was then I knew that that Guadalupe had a heart of gold and that I was going to learn a lot from her!