From Shaman’s Rock
By Jim Poling Sr.
Thumbs up to my little sister. She can turn mud pies into chocolate cakes. Or, a bad experience into something helpful to others.
She was bike riding with her daughter recently in eastern Ontario when her bike’s front wheel hit a crumbled piece of pavement. She was thrown over the handlebars and landed hard, breaking her arm.
She was immobile on the road’s edge with her daughter trying to help when a car approached. It didn’t stop to help. It didn’t slow down and it narrowly missed hitting them.
When told the story I went into my “world gone crazy” outrage. It’s a sick, sick society when a driver races past an injured person lying on the edge of a road.
My sister had a different take. She told how some nice people came out to help from a nearby house, arranging for an ambulance, trying to make her comfortable etc.
Then came the hospital story, one much different from what we so often hear these days.
The emergency room was packed, as many are these days. But instead of taking my sister’s OHIP card and telling her to take a seat, a nurse immediately set her up with a comfortable sling, gave her pain medication, then had her take a seat.
She didn’t complain about having to wait to see a doctor because the sling and pills made it easier to bear.
My sister is a person who believes people who do their jobs thoughtfully and with kindness should be thanked and told how their work truly helped. So, she called the hospital communications department to have her appreciation passed on to ER staff and the one nurse in particular.
There she stepped into the madness of our computer-controlled world. She was told to go to her laptop, tap this, tap that and eventually end up at a screen displaying a form. Fill out the form, then tap some more to send the completed form into the miasma of hospital bureaucracy.
My sister believes there must be an easier way to pass along appreciation and thanks.
I suppose one could still use the old-fashioned approach of writing a letter, searching for an address, addressing an envelope, inserting the letter, licking the envelope seal and paying $1 plus for a stamp then posting the letter and hoping it might find the right person.
We now live in the digital age surrounded by software engineers who work daily at changing the way we do things. Surely some of them can design a digital way to say thank you quickly and directly.
My sister wonders why there isn’t a system with which any company that deals with people – not just hospitals – has a simple-to-reach site just for compliments. It takes in messages of thanks and appreciation and directs them to the employee.
Something that bypasses the nests of bureaucracy and computer systems that complicate simple living. Something that you can do quickly on your cell phone while the experience is still fresh in your mind.
It’s an interesting thought. Perhaps someone will pick up on it and one day we’ll be able to send a kudo to a helpful person without the usual rigamarole.
Meanwhile my sister turned to social media to try to thank the nurse for her exceptional kindness. Her post included the following:
“You will never know the impact your kindness had on me that day. You could have just as easily taken my info when I came in and had me go back to a seat. Instead you gave me a new sling to comfort me while I waited and gave me medication to relieve the excruciating pain the fractures in my arm were causing. Thank you for making the rest of that day tolerable. I hope this message finds you somehow.”
I too hope it finds her.
It’s a harsh world out there where excellent and intelligent job performance mixed with kindness are not easy to find. When we do find it we should celebrate it and have better ways of passing along our thanks and appreciation.