There are certain topics I’ve written about several times during this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally. One of them is the concept of “Who is on my team?” Another one is Human Kindness. The more I look for that this year, the more I see it.
Here’s yet another story that illustrates both of these topics:
As I blogged about here, about two weeks ago my son suddenly began experiencing some shortness of breath and other symptoms. We didn’t know what was going on with him, and the symptoms came and went, but, when morning came, I decided to take him in to the emergency room at the hospital where I work.
As we drove in, he was feeling okay, so we decided that I would park my car in my regular parking lot and we would take the bus shuttle to the emergency room together. There, they found the problem — a collapsed lung! — which required a procedure in the Emergency Room, and then an overnight stay in the hospital.
I wanted to stay overnight with my son in the hospital, so around 7:30 PM I left him in the care of other loving relatives and returned to my parking lot. I told the guys who work there what was going on, and told them I wanted to leave to go home, get some things I needed, come back to the parking lot, and park overnight so I could be with my son.
They all expressed concern about my son and assured me that they would make this happen. I was pretty distracted, but I could still perceive their genuine attentiveness and eagerness to expedite everything in a way that would be easiest for me.
I wasn’t sure how — after I returned there — I was going to get from the parking lot back to the hospital, since I wasn’t sure whether the shuttle buses would still be running then, but I assumed I could figure something out.
When I got back to the parking lot later that night, I asked the guys there about the shuttle buses. They said they had stopped running. As we were discussing other possibilities of me getting back to my son (walking, calling a cab, calling the hospital security people for a ride, etc.), one of them, named Fanon, said, “I’ll drive you.”
I was so grateful for that unexpected and heart-felt response from him and for the precious gift of an earlier return to my son.
On the drive to the hospital, Fanon spoke to me about what mattered in the world: (1) family and (2) love. I was incredibly moved by his words. I’m still moved, as I’m writing this.
A few days later, I brought strawberries and chocolate to the guys at the parking lot. One of the managers was there and was pleased to see a happy customer. He said to me, “Write me an e-mail! I will pass that on to upper management. I want these guys to get a bonus.” I hadn’t spoken to the manager before, but I could tell immediately that we shared a common appreciation for the people who worked for him at that garage.
I did write an e-mail, the next day, most of which I’m including here:
All the guys who work at the garage, without exception, have been helpful, thoughtful, courteous, and friendly, every day I park there. They do their very best to take care of all the parkers, managing some pretty stressful and challenging situations, as we all seem to show up at the same time, needing to park quickly and make it to the shuttle bus.
I could have written you many times during the last year to express what I just did in that first paragraph. I wanted to tell you about something extra, that happened last week.
Last Wednesday, I brought my 15 year old son with me in the morning, parked the car, and took my son to the Emergency Room, since he was complaining of heart palpitations. We didn’t think it was anything serious. However, it turned out he had a collapsed lung. I stayed with him in the Emergency Room all day as the doctors did the necessary procedure to fix the situation. Then, my son was admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay.
In order to stay with my son overnight at the hospital, I had to return to my car, go home, come back, and then get back to the hospital.
Your employees at the garage were incredibly helpful to me, at each step of this ordeal. They assisted me in every way they could to make it easier for me to deal with a very stressful situation and to get back and forth to stay with my son. They showed concern for me and my son in an authentic and helpful way. Their help made a huge difference for me.
I was very touched and grateful that I was able to deal with such dedicated, competent, and thoughtful people. My compliments to them, to you, and to the rest of the company for helping make my experience so positive.
All the best,
Ann Koplow, LICSW
By the end of the day, I got this response, from a general manager in the parking organization, whom I had not encountered before:
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, it absolutely made my day. I sincerely hope your son is doing well and feels much better as well. Having a son of my own I know how scary things can become so quickly. We have a great bunch of guys that work down at the garage and I feel lucky to have them on my team. I will be sharing your compliments with each of them and will also be providing them with a much deserved bonus as well.
Thank You again for taking the time out of your busy day to write, it was very much appreciated and I assure you the attendants will feel the same way.
As I’ve written in this blog before, kindness can make me cry — more than anything else — these days.
I’m grateful for all the times I’ve cried that way, this year.
Before I left work for the weekend last Friday, I took a picture of the guys who were working at the garage that evening. Here they are:
From left to right, that’s Fanon, Mahari, and Selemun.
I look forward to seeing them (and the other members of “my team” at the garage), as I return to work this week.
Thanks to all of them, and thanks to you, for reading today.