If you’ve been in the Lobby Lounge on an evening, and a man with a smile slow and sweet has asked if he could light your tabletop candle and refill your snack mix, you’ve met Landur.
Landur is the lobby porter. This means he bustles around caring for all the details that make everyone else comfortable: fluffing pillows, adjusting roses on tables, pushing in chairs, bringing refreshments, greeting everyone with unflagging kindness. You can sense his tenderness from four tables away. He was placed temporarily at the Pfister two years ago and never left.
Landur loves his daughter, a single mom working hard to pursue her education. He loves his nine-year old grandson and his second grandchild on the way. He loves to settle in snugly at home and watch TV after a long day. He loves to work hard, almost as much as he loves Wisconsin sports.
He roots for the Packers, Badgers, Brewers, Bucks.
I root for Landur.
Living for the past year and a half with what he calls “a medical challenge” but is more accurately kidney failure, he’s waiting for a transplant. He has AB type blood, which means he is compatible to receive blood from any type, hopefully making it easier to be matched with a donor. He spends three and a half hours undergoing dialysis three times a week, which drains him more than the rest of us can see.
Landur realized early on after his diagnosis that he “isn’t Superman” and that he’ll pay later for each time he pushes himself too hard. Now things have become tenuous enough that if he works two days in a row, he sets himself back a week. He has to follow a strict diet, has to rest and pace himself. He explains all this to me with, “I’m a simple person but now my life has gotten a little complicated.”
It’s easy to wonder how he can still be working with such energy and steady cheerfulness in the shadow of a “complication” like this. He says that work is good for him because it gives him focus, purpose, a check for an attitude “that would be ugly” if left unmoored. Interacting with people here at the Pfister, he says, reminds him that he’s “still worth something”.
You meet Landur and know immediately what an understatement that is. He’s so positive, so kind, and so hopeful that I almost feel embarrassed to accept the snack mix he brings me, the quiet and humble way he moves about this room.
In his manner, Landur apologizes to me for not offering me a better story. He says he only does his best. “I just give the people here what I have in this world. I offer them a smile.”
But you’ve met Landur now. You understand that what he gives is vast and precious.