Mr. Swiffer bounces around the seventh floor hallways at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and into the arms of Thelma Jackson. Their embrace is routine and genuine.
“He wakes up, and he can’t wait to see her,” Katie says of her 19-month-old son, also known as Rocco and King Rocco. “He runs down the hall. He loves Thelma.”
Thelma, an environmental services worker at the hospital, loves Mr. Swiffer back. They bonded over the hand-held sweeper they both enjoy to deploy. Mr. Swiffer brought two from home, where he routinely follows housekeepers around. He was so infatuated with the longer version Thelma uses that she gave him a new one just like it.
“I just bonded with him,” says Thelma, who has worked at the hospital nearly five years. “I see him, and he always gives me a hug. I love him. I’m going to miss him when he leaves. He makes my day.”
Any shyness has been swept away from curly-haired Mr. Swiffer, his father, Derek, says: “He gets a kick out of making people smile.”
As he moves about the hallways, Mr. Swiffer alternates between sweepers long and short—often pausing for a hug with Thelma, family or other environmental services workers.
“Everybody on the floor knows Rocco,” Katie says. “It’s amazing the way he’s touched everybody’s lives.
“Thelma and Rocco are best friends forever.”