Rhonda Jackson didn’t set out to make history when she began drying her hands at a rest stop off I-95 in Maryland, but that’s precisely what she did. Jackson, a mother of three, is the first woman in history to fully and completely dry her hands under an automatic hand dryer – and it only took her six months!
Jackson ran into the rest stop to quickly use the bathroom and grab some snacks for the road, but when she started to dry her hands under the Xlerator, something in her head “clicked.”
“I just suddenly had this thought,” says Jackson. “I was like, I don’t want to have to have to wipe the rest of the water off on my pants. And I don’t want to go outside with wet hands. And that’s when I decided to just dry my hands completely under the dryer.”
Six months later, they were finally dry.
While many were inspired by Jackson’s dedication, others were skeptical. Jackson’s husband, Rodney, is among those who feel conflicted by his wife’s success.
“I was waiting outside in the car for six months,” he says. “I kept thinking, ‘I should just go in and see what’s up,’ but then I would think, ‘Well, I’m sure she’ll be out at any second ’ I went back and forth between those two thoughts for awhile until she finally came out and then I realized it was December.”
But Jackson’s accomplishment is more than just a personal victory: It’s a step forward for all women everywhere – specifically for all those women who have had to shake someone’s hand right after using the restroom and had to be like “Ugh I’m so sorry my hands are wet but it’s just water.”
“I’m proud that I’ve raised the bar,” says Jackson. “No longer will a woman have to apologize when taking too long using the hand dryer, or have to wave her arms around super fast to try and air dry them. Now it’s acceptable to just hunker down and use the dryer until your hands are dry as bones and yes, that takes six months, but it’s totally worth it.”
Stay dry, Rhonda!