Window washing is like a real-life chatroulette. Or maybe it's more like Russian roulette, depending on what might come into view when these men and women descend from above. Every window is a picture, every picture tells a story. Sometimes, those are stories these people never wanted know. Stories they will never unsee!
"We were cleaning a fairly tall building 12 stories adjacent to an equally tall government office building. This office building had several bedrooms on the top level, which we could see from the roof but certainly not from the ground. From where we were standing this bedroom was about ten meters away. As we're setting up an unclothed dude jumps onto his bed with an iPad and starts going to town on himself, furiously. Facing us."
"A few years back, at the age of 17, I took a full 3-day safety training course on window washing and worked part-time to get quick cash. This was in Chicago at the Holiday Inn.
Me and my partner at the time we're almost done with our shift as it become close to dark. As we get to this one room, it was oddly brighter than the other rooms. When we reach it, we find a group of people in animal costumes rubbing and smacking each other. Me and my partner were like what the heck?
The room was full of glitter on the floors and had a bunch of rainbow-colored something sprayed on the walls. We wanted to finish quick. As we started descending, they caught us and gave us what looked like sharp looks, but we couldn’t tell because of the wolf heads and animal heads and bodies they had on.
We booked it and told the front desk what was up. After they checked it out they got back to us and told us they kicked them out and damages the room. So it was out of service last time I checked."
"Years ago I was washing windows on a Chicago condominium in the gold coast on a 40' long stage. We were instructed not to work past 5pm due to residents privacy. Fine, but it was 4:30pm, my partner and I wanted to squeeze in one more drop. But we'd have to work fast.
We approached the 23rd floor and what to my surprise did I see on the kitchen table!? A young couple, wearing nothing, going at it. I recognized the female, she was the pool life guard! They were 5' away from me. It was surreal. I was shocked, I froze. She was on the bottom w/her legs in the air and she looked at me without any interruption and said nothing to her partner!
Meanwhile, my window washing partner was done with his half and was already moving to the next floor down. I was excited and did not want to move. The stage was slanting in an angle, everything was sliding away from me. I couldn't even talk.
My partner marched toward me wondering why I had not done anything and he witnessed the fiasco himself. And then he knocked on the window! The guy, who was nailing the female, standing above her, turned around and attempted to lower the blinds, reaching out with one hand but only knocked them to the ground. He seemed to say 'the heck with it' and continued to pound her on the kitchen table.
"I'm not a skyscraper window washer, but was a janitor who had to wash the windows in a six-story building as part of my job. I used a mix of ladders and rappelling down from the roof with a harness to clean the outside windows.
One day, I was washing the outside windows on the executive floor where all the bosses and higher up employees had their offices. I was done with one window, so I moved to the next window. I looked in and saw the CEO of the company snorting something in his office with the door locked and the lights off. He looked up and saw me in the window and we made uncomfortable eye contact for about 15 seconds, then I just pretended I saw nothing and kept washing the windows. Neither of us expected to find ourselves in that situation and we were both caught off guard so we just kinda stared for lack of anything better to do in that moment. Then, I just went about my business and I'm sure he kept on doing his. I'm sure he was nervous because if I had done what I was legally supposed to do and report him, then he would lose everything, so he looked a lot like a deer in the headlights.
I never spoke a word about it to him or anyone in the office, but the last day I worked there, he gave me a farewell card with 200 bucks in it and a free solar powered portable phone charger that the company produced and sold."
"Not so much a window washer but window replacer. A woman in her mid 20s, the daughter of the homeowner, walked into the room like she had 1000 times before, took her clothes off faster than I could say 'excuse me ma'am, allow me to avert my gaze,' but when I did get words out she screamed and ran out of the room.
A little while later, her mother came out and asked if that meant they'd get a discount."
"My uncle has been doing this job over twenty years, so I’ve heard a few weird stories from him:
A famous footballer who was NOT with his wife, but a paid acquaintance while his wife was pregnant. Not long after this the company were asked to sign NDA’s.
A hoarder whose windows were slowly being hidden by the years of 'collections.'
A sign on a window asking them to not clean the bathroom window. Obviously not knowing which window was to what room, they went about their jobs. The bathroom had skinned rabbits hung up.
A woman filming an adult film.
He saw what looked like a murder scene. Uncle reported it, but was later told it was fake blood for a TV show that was filming there.
His favorite? A dog breeder (Okay, breeder not the right word. It was someone who had 2 litters) and every 4 weeks he went back to clean the building and got to see the pups growing up. When he went back and they were roughly 12 weeks, there was one pup left. He asked for her and now he’s got a Rottie called Holly."
"I had descended down to about the 20th floor of a 35 story building. The blinds were closed... mostly. I was doing post construction cleaning (scraping glue, calking, cement and other unpleasantness from the windows and frames) so I spent quite a bit more time on each window than when purely washing.
I get to the bottom section of one of the larger windows to find this small opening in the blinds. Behind them is a rather shapely woman, unclothed, with her back turned to me. I pull out my scraper to take some more stubborn bits off the window and end up making some noise, which startles the lass. When she turns I can see her laptop facing us webcam on. There is a steady stream of chat flowing on the right hand side.
It was then I knew I'd come across a cam girl. She came over to the window. I thought she'd be mad but instead she opened the blinds and played with herself. Just then, the suction cup I was using for stability against the building released causing me to nearly soil myself. Not bad for two weeks in to the job."
"The strangest was a woman who watched me do my work from the other side, pointing at all the streaks and spots as if I were missing it all. Her windows were filthy because we'd had a rain storm followed by a dust storm (only in Texas). I knew it'd take more than one pass to get it all, so I started with the big squeegee to get the bulk of the dirt off before going at it again with the smaller one that doesn't leave streaks. She was losing her mind tapping during the first pass, tapping on the parts I was going to go over again. She pointed out the wet streaks that dry up almost immediately into nothing but clean windows. She pointed at the spots I had to really get at when the squeegee didn't get them. She pointed at me a lot, and I'm not sure what that was about.
As part of the job, I also remove any spider webs or hornet/wasp's nests I see. Wasps/Hornets aren't really a big deal if you get the jump on them. You reach up, grab their mud nest, and just smash it in your hands before they get out to bite you. This lady kept freaking out and making barfing faces whenever I did it. She looked completely disgusted. She didn't ask me to stop cleaning her windows though, so I don't know what she expected me to do. Not do what I was contracted to do?
The lady clearly thought I was a neanderthal. She later complained that she had to do all the work, pointing it all out to me. I tried to explain that I could sit in a bus and point out the route, but that doesn't change the work the bus driver is doing. She complained that I couldn't be that smart because I was a window washer and window washers are lazy. I explained it was one of two jobs I was working while taking a full course load at the university."
"I was working in rope access, not window washing, but painting, fixing cracked render, repairs etc... I have a few stories.
One time, we were painting peoples balconies. You would swing and climb into each balcony from outside, and then finish your work and move to the next one down. Now, the harnesses we wear can get a bit tight and annoying, so getting on a balcony is a good chance to unclip yourself and take the harness off for a while. So, I take off the harness and have my back to the sliding door of this apartment, I’m fixing my pants and shirt, because it was all bunched up when I feel someone behind me. I turn around and there’s a lady with a bewildered look on her face taking photos of me. I thought she assumed I’m taking a leak or something and laughed as I went to explain myself, she cracks the door open and tells me the cops would be there in 5 minutes, then makes a jerking motion with her hand and says, 'You're jerking it on my balcony!?' At this point I thought 'Uh oh.' This is gonna be bad.
I harness back up and get back on the rope and go down. She was already telling my coworkers... and by the look in there eyes... they believed her. Building manager said that offender is to be removed from the sight. It wasn’t funny at the time, but now I’m able to laugh about it."
"I've worked in high rise cleaning for about 5 years. Never really saw anything to out of the ordinary since ropes banging against the glass is a pretty good give away people are working. Also, all tenants in the building are typically notified their windows will be cleaned prior to you arriving.
Having said that we clean a 32-story dorm three times a year, thanks to students constantly vomiting off the balconies and wind up drafts spreading it everywhere. Everyone gets pretty upset when it comes up on the schedule to service. Anyway we usually always find kids sleeping, and their headboards are normally right against the glass. So we go out of our way to smash the suction cups as hard as we can against the glass to freak them out and startle them awake. This has caused some kids to jump up out of bed insanely fast since it's not a usual place to hear a noise come from (about 3 inches from their head). Some have been clothed, others have been unclothed. Usually a few of us are on the same side of the building and we all get a good laugh at whoever we 'get.' It's pretty fun."
"Not a repelling story, but one time we were washing the interior of a house and the woman who was home was very nice.
About halfway through, the person who would seem to be the husband comes home and they kiss a bunch, nothing crazy, but they kept talking in very hushed tones. It was not that weird considering there are strangers in your living room, moving stuff and cleaning and whatever. They just kept whispering though as we moved into the bedrooms, which started getting weird.
Well, we get to he master bedroom and start moving family pictures off a dresser to clean the window behind it and I can assure you that our visitor was not the husband or the father to their two blonde children. Got a very icky feeling and finished the house quickly. Needless to say she left us a very generous tip."
"Not the window washer myself, but I am connected to both parties involved. My roommate had just started working for a chain window washing company and was just starting to rappel down the side of the buildings. He and another are going down side by side as he is teaching him the ropes, there going down a large office building and he says your in for a treat there is a bunch of ladies on the next floor down that have a habit of flashing the window washers. So sure enough the next floor down they get a bit of a show as they do their work. They smile and wave and move on.
Around that same time I get a call from my mom and talk to her about plans we have for a meal on the weekend and I hear a commotion in the background, I ask her what's up and she says the younger staff have a tradition that is happening and she missed out on it this time. We make plans and she says to invite my roommate over for dinner as well.
So Dinner comes around and even though my roommate and mom have met each other before, he gets the sense he has seen her recently and can't place her. As you have probably guess she was on the phone in the background of the flashing. I found out my mom regularly flashes the window washers at work."
"Around 7-8 years ago, I was working on building restoration as a contractor, we worked for about a week from the afternoon till late. During work I noticed that in one of the buildings next to us we could see inside a room on the 12th floor. Strange thing is: in that room the lights were on everyday, like even when we started work. Even more weird: the TV was playing some pop music video clip over and over on repeat and we never seen anybody moving in the room and it was presumably the living room with the entrance door opening from it.
This kept going on for a week and we were all wondering what happened. One of my coworkers said that probably some poor guy overdosed somewhere in the apartment.
On the last day of work, I went to the building to see if there was a doorman/receptionist on the ground floor who I could notify about this. I went in, told him that he'd better check that room on the 12th floor, and described the odd situation to him. He looked at me weird and said that if the room I'm talking about is the one he thinks of then that room is unoccupied and unfurnished as the last tenant moved out months ago. He assured me that at night he'll go up and check. The project we worked on finished and I went on my merry way.
Our boss went back a few months later to correct some issues, and then he called me saying that the room we were on about is empty/unfurnished with the lights off and has a 'for sale' sign in the window.
I found this pretty creepy and we never found out what happened."
Cleaning a ritzy hotel with a lounge on the 18th floor. Lounge hostess hands me a cookie through the window on a napkin. I eat it, drop down to clean the bottom half of the window and then hear her ask me if she can take the napkin for me. I look up to hand it to her and realize I’m staring straight up her dress. She realizes too and backs away from the window so I have to kind of awkwardly reach up to hand her the napkin which she awkwardly kind of bends forward to retrieve without bringing herself back into view. I kind of felt like just cutting my ropes and ending it there...but they were some pretty panties.
Last window on the last drop of a hotel on a Friday PM. I drop down to clean it. Finish this one and the crew goes for drinks. Woot! Lock off my rope reach down to grab my mop and squeegee and when I look back up an old woman is bent fully over taking her pants down, butt pointed right at the window. I panic and rap down to the ground where my boss is waiting for me. I tell him about the old lady tushy. He looks at his watch, up at the window, grabs a rope protector (canvas sleeve to wrap the rope going over sharp edges) and throws it up at the window where it makes a great slapping noise against the glass. He the looks at me a tells me these clients are snobs and if we don’t finish every window we’ll just be called back. I climb up and clean the window.
Old lady is nowhere to be seen."
"Window cleaner here, I have a few stories of cleaning high rises that still make me chuckle.
My co-worker, who no longer works there, always used to poop his pants... like... he had an issue, but never took care of it medically. I don't know, but it was always a joke. One day after lunch, we were strapping up to go over the side and he turns to me and says, 'Dude...how quick do you think we can get this drop done?'
Me: 'It’s only a seven story, so maybe 30 minutes or so. Why?'
Him: 'Alright, let’s go.'
It was a goofy edge so sometimes we would hand each other our buckets of water. The second I handed him his water, he screamed into my face 'DANG FLABBIT!!'
What I witnessed next was probably the quickest descent I’d ever seen, as he was cursing the entire time down the rope. Absolute hilarity. For clarification, yes, he indeed pooped himself.
Different co-workers. There were three of us that dropped next to each other. One of them LOVED messing with people on the inside. This was a dorm, about 25 stories or so. Near halfway down the building, you could really start swinging, and he yelled at me and the other guy to swing over to him. On his drop, was a college girl passed out on the window sill.
Him: 'On the count of 3, slam your suction cup on the glass and scream.'
We proceeded to scare the living poop out of this poor girl. She fell off the sill almost immediately. It ended with everyone laughing, she took a selfie with us and later met us at the bottom of the building and punched all of us (playfully). She had a good spirit about it."
"A buddy of mine washes windows.
One day he's finished up a high-rise apartment and is coiling up his ropes when a smoke butt hits his baseball cap brim and lands in front of him. He picks it up, looks at it. Freshly lit. He thinks it must of fell from someone smoking on their balcony. So he starts smoking the mysterious sky smoke and finish's packing up his rope.
He walks around the side of the building and see's this guy lying in the hedges. He walks up to the dude, thinking he's wasted and passed out/fallen in the shrubs. Says 'hey guy' or something like that. The guy looks at him, his eyes focus for a second and then glaze over. At this point, he sees blood coming from the guy's ears and realizes the guy has jumped or fallen from the apartment building. He says the cops talked to him and they figured it was a suicide. Weirdest thing he's seen cleaning windows. Free smokes though..."
"My uncle was telling us all his wild window washing stories the other day. He was saying how he caught this one executive suit-type squatting over his trash bin taking a dump.
And it wasn't a one time thing. He said he caught the same guy several times pooping in his trash! Designer suit pants draped on the back of his chair. Almost as if he goes through some ritual preparation in order to be able to defecate in his trash. My uncle's guess was that he had some strange poop things where he couldn't go in public bathrooms or something."