Sometimes when you do something for someone else, you end up getting much more in return. This past weekend was B’s birthday. She is a nurse in a long-term care facility, so she was working the night of her birthday. I decided to bring her dinner and surprise her. I went there, expecting to make her happy, to make her feel special on her special day. To make just another night at work a little different, a little more fun. I had no idea what I was about to witness.
I arrived at the facility, armed with a ton of food from an amazing local restaurant and a few gifts. B came to the reception area and I sat with her as she began to open her gifts. There were a few residents, but I honestly didn’t pay too much attention to them. I was pretty much oblivious, until Trudy came in. Trudy is a resident, and was clearly upset. She missed her home, she missed her family. She apparently had been upset all day, and was working herself into a panic. The receptionist said that she had tried to reach her family members for her, but they were not home. I Felt so sorry for this poor woman, the B took over. Instantly, she forgot her gifts and food. She forgot she was on break. In that moment, no one existed for B but Trudy. She sat and looked directly into her eyes and listened. She actually said very little, but she listened to every word Trudy had to say. Within ten minutes, Trudy was laughing. This sweet elderly woman who was on the verge of a panic attack minutes before was laughing and joking. That is nursing. That is a special, rare kind of gift that very few people are born with. It was truly an incredible thing to watch.
When someone is doing a job that they love, one that they were born to do, it stops being work. What B did that night will never be on a performance review. It will never be a factor in determining a raise or a salary. Most likely, no one will ever know about it. I am sure B has all but forgotten about the entire conversation, she has no doubt had countless others, with countless other residents. I know that I will not forget it, and in some way, I know Trudy will not forget it either.