On Friday I had the opportunity to meet with Steven Buckland, who works as a Receptionist/ Mail Clerk for the Halifax Regional Municipality (Local 13). And I am so happy that I did. Steve is probably one of the nicest human beings that I have ever had the honor to meet.
I was asked by the Local 13 Executive to meet Steve on Friday, February 2 because Friday was Groundhog Day, which Steve is particularly fond of. Before my visit, I was told that Steve loved Groundhog Day and that he went above and beyond to share his love of the weather forecasting marmot with his coworkers.
Upon my arrival on the third floor of Duke Tower, I was greeted with Groundhog Day pictures, signs, games, and a stuffed groundhog who was resting in his custom house with his very own HRM badge. I was also provided with my own Groundhog Day badge and informed that there were some special treats in the lunch room for everyone to enjoy.
Upon chatting with Steve, I learned that he has worked with HRM for over 13 years in a variety of positions that included stints in traffic services and tourism. As we were talking, people were popping in and out of Steve’s reception area, couriers arrived with deliveries, and the phone rang repeatedly. It’s clear to me that Steve is the hub of the third floor and likely many other floors. He knows everyone by name and greets each person with a smile and genuine enthusiasm. He’s told me that approximately 500 people pass through his door daily.
While Steve is busy attending to his work I had the opportunity to look at the dozens of beautifully painted pieces of art that decorate the walls of the reception area, which I later learn are all Steve’s handiwork. I have included some photos below so you can see them for yourself.
As we continued our conversation I quickly learned that while Steve may love Groundhog Day it is less about the groundhog itself and more about uniting people and bringing some levity to people’s days. Steve speaks repeatedly about how he thinks it is important for people to connect, smile, and have fun. He is cognizant of how our Nova Scotian winters can be cold, hard, and isolating for some people. Groundhog Day, in his opinion, is a lighthearted day in the middle of winter that everyone can relate to.
In a busy workplace such as this one, Steve’s Groundhog Day celebrations are a nice reminder to slow down and have a bit of fun. We could probably all take a lesson from Steve on being present in the moment and not taking ourselves too seriously.
February 5, 2018
Published by Sherry Forester