She sat across from the panel of interviewers ready and eager. She knew this job was hers, she had it in the bag.
On the day of her interview she had woken up late. The morning was a rush to get ready as she ran out of the door. She was sure to dress to impress and look the part.
She tapped her exquisitely Manolo Blahnik adorned french manicured feet on the floor as she stood at the bus stop and took out a piece of paper from her bag as she began to read:
Please be prepared there will be a test, and be sure to bring your best.
She had spent the night before trying to cram, revise, everything and anything that could possibly help with this interview - but she knew she would win them over.
On the journey, it had been a trial. She hurried along on 3 inch heels, as her steps made a staccato beat.
''Excuse me miss, can you spare some change so I can get a bite to eat?''
She barely glanced at the childlike figure covered in a dirty sleeping bag with a dog by her side as she continued on her way. She snarled at the figure as the dog ran after her barking and tugging at the corner of her coat. It managed to run off with a shred of her jacket in it's mouth.
''Damn!'' She exclaimed.
As soon as the words left her mouth, she saw a pigeon swooping down in perfect aim for her. She ducked, but didn't miss the little package it dropped on the top of her head. She squealed in disgust as she reached for her tissues to wipe the bird mess off from her what was now, a less than delightful messy coiffure.
She fluffed her coat down and smoothed out her hair, sighing with exasperation when she finally saw the approaching bus. She pushed away the elderly woman who had stood by her side and clambered on the bus ahead of all those waiting.
''You sure took your time'' she grimaced at the bus driver as she touched in her Oyster and walked onto the bus. She turned her head away from the look of an old man as she took the last remaining seat.
She was dressed to impressed, she had even bought new clothes just for the day. Crisp white shirt, black skirt and a beautifully fitted jacket, and off course the Manolo Blahnik shoes that had to be hers,those which had cost her a fortune... all of which she would return the moment after the interview. This was a job that she wanted and knew it would be hers. After all the job description had been so vague she would be sure to fit. The details had simply asked for somebody who was able to respond and react in an efficient manner tending to the needs of others. She knew she had it.
She reached to ring the bell as the bus approached her stop. As she made a move to rise, she heard a rip, and looked down to realise that she had sat on a loose metal spring on her seat. It ripped through her jacket, her skirt and caught some of her leg leaving a ladder in her tights and a small pool of blood to follow. She turned to see the old woman she had pushed past gingerly walk to the exit from her standing position by the window. She stepped off the bus ahead of the old woman as the doors opened leaving someone else behind to help the old woman with her walker.
She strode, a little less confident and a little less full of exuberant expectancy. She didn't see the pothole in front of her as she tripped on a loose paving stone and snapped the heel off one of her beloved shoes.
She half hopped, half walked into her desired destination and sat waiting in the foyer and took a glance at her watch. 2.30pm. The interview was scheduled for 1.50pm and she had reached there early despite waking up late and all the mishaps. She glanced at a pretty young lady sitting next to her and sighed.
''At the rate this is going this job is not worth it'' she said.
She sat across from the interviewers. Eyes focused on the panel and ready to answer each question.
''I feel that being someone who likes to meet the needs of others before myself is a great reason why I would be an asset to your company'' she answered to the first question smoothing down her wayward hair.
''I also like to keep in mind that there are others that are less fortunate than myself and I do my best to help them''. She replied again as she uncrossed her legs and tried to hide the disaster of her shoes.
''We relayed that there would be a test''. One of the panel said with a raised eyebrow. ''Please dim the lights as we play the video'.
The lights dimmed, and a large screen descended from the ceiling in front. Images of her were played as she walked past the homeless girl asking for money. The images showed her pushing past an old woman struggling to get on the bus, her grimace at the bus driver. There she was taking a seat when an old man stood beside her with a walking cane. Again she was seen pushing the old lady away as she stepped off the bus.
She stared, her eyes as wide as if a deer caught in headlights.
''I - I can explain'' she stammered to the panel.
''No need'' they replied.
''See, I was the girl with the blanket in the cold in need'' said one of the panelist interviewer as she stood and wrapped an old dirty cloth around her.
''And I was the old woman at the bus stop' said the other panelist as she donned a wig and glasses.
''I was the old man'' said the third panelist as he walked over to her with his walking cane, and a grey toupee on his head.
''And I was the lady who you told this job wasn't worth the wait'' said the pretty lady that had been sitting out in the foyer. ''My name is Suya. I am the owner of this company''. Suya raised her brows at her interviewees ruffled hair, torn clothes and her broken shoe. She sniffed the air as she smelt a whiff coming from her.
"I also work as the Area Manager of the store in which you bought those now not so lovely shoes and outfit'' Suya continued.
''I remember you now because you spent so lavishly. Be sure to know that any refund you thought of trying to claim for will not be given."
She wiped her hair as she cursed that dreadful pigeon in her head, and her broken shoes.
''Any questions?'' the panel asked in unison.
''yeah'' She tearfully replied. ''who was the bus driver?''.
That which is most important to others may be what we always tend to overlook in the face of reaching what is most important to us. And who one may seem to be who they are, is not always the case...