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Alex VanDoren, Window Cleaner and Urban Legend




The year was 1947, in the bustling city of Grand Rapids, there was a thriving furniture manufacturer called "Everfine Furnishings." For two generations, Everfine Furnishings had been a cornerstone of the community, providing employment opportunities and contributing to the city's economy.


At the same time, there was a diligent and hardworking window cleaner named Alex Vandoren. Alex would anchor and descend the downtown exteriors tied into his rope apparatus One could find him at work, even on the windiest of autumn days scrubbing clean the windows of many of the city's buildings, observing the daily happenings from his lofty vantage points.


One fateful day, while cleaning the windows of Everfine Furnishings, Alex noticed something very peculiar. Through the glass, he caught a glimpse of a suspicious figure tampering with the machinery in the factory in way that seemed awfully suspicious. Realizing that a saboteur was at work, Alex's sense of duty kicked in.


Alex knew that the intruder had spotted him on his perch and that he’d witnessed his actions on the conveyor chain and sprocket assembly, smashing it with his blunt steel crow bar! Still Alex summoned his courage and decided to confront the wiry forty something man head-on but from a safe distance naturally. With determination in his heart, he made note of the time and the area where the damage was inflicted, Alex descended to the concrete below just as the criminal was climbing into his Ford Sedan Coup, parked illegally in a loading zone adjacent to the furniture factory. Alex had gathered sufficient evidence of the saboteur's nefarious activities, including a vivid description of the distinctive looking character with a crooked nose and lumbering gait on his right side, as well as a description of his car and took it to the authorities.


As the truth unraveled, it became apparent, the temporary worker and saboteur, Omar Mifsud, had been disrupting Everfine Furnishings' production on many occasions, apparently determined to tarnish its reputation and cause them to fail to complete orders from customers.


While management was able to keep the incident quite for fear of copycat offenders, news travelled still among influential townspeople (as well as those in the immediate social circle of the window cleaner’s gossiping wife Serena). Many citizens rallied behind the furniture manufacturer, recognizing its significant contributions to the community.


Everfine Furnishings had not only provided countless employment opportunities for the residents of Grand Rapids but had also generated substantial revenue for the city and contributed to a real boom in the local post World War II economy, not so different really than what entrepreneurs are up to in the time we're in now.


Just like in our community today the furniture manufacturer's success had a cascading effect on other businesses in the area, creating a thriving ecosystem of suppliers, retailers, and service providers. Not to mention the livelihood of a great many families in our beloved city.


The story of Alex, the window cleaner turned local hero, and his role in thwarting the saboteur's plot spread throughout the city, inspiring others to stand up against wrongdoing and protect the local businesses that were the backbone of the community. There are even stories of local vigilante like businessman inspired by Alex who are said to have chased away group of Chicago mobsters who had moved into the city. Whatever grain of truth there might be to these legends, we know that window cleaners in general are a special breed, not afraid of hard work, able to withstand all weather conditions, reaching high on ladders, booms, and ropes on account of their industrious clients!


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