When the cleaner turned up for her night shift at an insurance company and snapped on the lights of the darkened main open-plan office, she stopped dead in her tracks.
And so did the man bent over a desk with his trousers around his ankles.
“I couldn’t work out what he was doing at first,” she says. “In my confusion, I even said something stupid like, ‘Good evening. You’re working late.’ But then I heard a woman’s voice, and realised he wasn’t alone.
“So I just turned the lights back off and backed out to the lifts and waited for them to sort themselves out. A few minutes later, they came out, called the lift and got into it. They didn’t even look at me.”
She didn’t think much more about it until she was waylaid by another staff member from the same firm a couple of weeks later. The woman told her the man – who’d been a manager – had been so nervous the cleaner would tell on him and his secretary that he’d confessed all to his boss, assuming the secretary would be moved on. He, instead, had been demoted and transferred.
“But he was silly to do that,” she says. “It’s part of our job description. What happens in the office stays in the office. Confidentiality is one of our most important things.”