(I’m a fifteen-year veteran paramedic. I’ve just come into work to pick up my ambulance and start my shift when my supervisor informs me that I have been scheduled for a meeting with both Human Resources and Quality Assurance the next morning. These meetings are usually a very big deal, meaning that somewhere a policy or procedure in treatment wasn’t followed, and disciplinary action is usually involved. So, not the best news. I spend my shift talking to my paramedic partner about every call we’d run in the month prior, trying to figure out what might have happened, but nothing pops on our radar. Skip to the next morning. I show up for the meeting and everyone is pleasant and there are some people there, with a small infant, that I don’t know.)
Quality Assurance Manager: “[My Name], do you recognize any of these folks?”
Me: “No, sir. I’m afraid I don’t.”
Woman: *holding baby* “My husband and I were involved in a very serious accident three months ago while I was pregnant… a week away from my due date. You and your partner were the first people on scene; they told us later that you drove up, and dove right in without any hesitation whatsoever. You put me onto a helicopter because I was pregnant and sent my husband by ground ambulance to the same hospital so we wouldn’t be separated. After my surgery and emergency C-section I have a healthy me and a healthy, happy child. The trauma doc told us that your decisions on the side of that road saved both me and the baby. Would you like to meet her? I can’t think of any better way to say thank you.”
(I held that darling little girl for the better part of an hour, cooing and feeding her and getting to know her amazing parents. After a round of hugs and many thanks all around, I was absolutely floored that these people had taken the time to hunt us down to say thank you. It doesn’t happen often in my line of work, but the times it does mean so much.)
(I have a birth defect called Phocomelia; my arms are short and I don’t have hands, but I get by decently well. To avoid an extra stress I tend to go to the store late at night or early morning. I go late, as with four shopping days left until Christmas I know I can’t handle the extra large crowds that were made up of people who love to stare. I have gotten good at ignoring those around me unless they are in my way and in line of sight. I was putting my items on the belt and was in my own world. I hear a man and kids talking, but don’t think anything of it, until the two little girls come up to me.)
Older Girl: “Can I help?” *I am thrown off by the question, because it’s usually an adult that asks*
Me: “Sure, thank you!” *the older girl grabs the last of the items in the cart*
Younger Girl: “I didn’t get to help.”
Me: “It’s the thought that counts.” *I feel a little bad; she truly does want to help*
Their Father: “You can help her put the bags in the cart.”
(The father and girls talk, joke, and laugh while I wait to pay for my items. It’s a nice change to hear a parent interacting with the kids and keeping everything light and happy, as all the other parents I see in the store this night ignore or yell at their kids. When my items are being bagged the father tells them to help. I get one bag, the older girl gets another and then helps her little sister with the last bag.)
Me: “Thank you, girls!” *and then I thank the father*
(The father helped renew some of my faith in the future generations. Not only did the girls happily help, but they didn’t stare. They looked a little, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from younger kids. To the father: Thank you so much! I’m used to doing things on my own, but to be offered help when I’m obviously tired and struggling means so much to me, especially after waiting to see if I had things handled or was struggling. And the fact that you are raising your girls to be respectful to others is heartwarming.)
My wife and I are visiting Las Vegas for the weekend. It’s Sunday morning and we are trying to go to Mass, but are unable to drive very far downtown because of a marathon race being run on the Strip and other streets. What would normally be a 10- or 15-minute drive became an hour and a half. I’m having considerable trouble finding a place to park and both of us are in a grumpy, not-very-Christian mood.
The homily is given by a visiting missionary priest. He talks about how in Central America his order was trying to get more children in their schools so they might have a chance at getting out of poverty. They’d even feed the kids twice a day.
This was news to the poor villager parents who would put their kids to work for twelve hours a day, as soon as they were 8 years old, picking through garbage dumps for anything recyclable so they could make a couple dollars. The priest mentions, one boy who found something that still looked edible… and had to fight off vultures for it.
We looked at each other in amazement. We’re getting stressed about Las Vegas traffic, while elsewhere, eight-year-old kids are picking through garbage. What a reality check! We decided to give rather generously to the collection for the priest’s mission.
I am working in the museum’s visitor’s center, which is mainly a place for visitors to get some background information about the museum and to use the bathroom.
A mother and her young daughter come in and my coworker starts telling the mother the museum’s history, which her daughter is unsurprisingly not at all interested in. I go over and start talking to the daughter, showing her where we are on the map and the “guess the texture” station. We then go into the next room where there are some (quite frankly, bizarre) sculptures by a local artist. I explain what they are as best I can and agree with the little girl that one of them looked like a chocolate cake.
When the mother is finally free from my coworker, she comes to collect her daughter who then gives me a hug. I saw them later as they were leaving the museum and the little girl gave me some “art,” which was mostly a couple pieces of paper glued together in a zig-zag shape. I’m glad that I was able to make the little girl feel welcome, and I still have the artwork!
(My daughter has special needs. She is an adult but is quite small and not very vocal. She will say hello, usually over and over after someone responds. Most of her sentences are one word long. I was shopping for a coat when a little boy in a cart behind me piped up.)
Me: *to the boy* “Hola, chico.” *to my daughter* “Okay, you’ve said hello, honey. You don’t have to keep saying it.”
Daughter: “Como estas lindo?” *how are you, cute? – guessing that’s as close as she could come to “cutie”*
Me: *silent in shock*
(The two chatted for a few minutes as I just stared.)
Daughter: *to Boy* “Bye, niño.” *walks up to me* “Spanish.” *except she can’t make the sp sound so what she said was ‘Panish*
(I speak English, German, and ASL with her. Not really sure how she even learned Spanish.)