Thursday, December 4, 2014

Show a Little Kindness

I recently went to Henry Ford Clinic for a blood draw and flu shot.  A really cute perky medical assistant came in with the syringes.  When I presented my arm for the blood draw, she expressed delight at the condition of my veins, so easy to tap!  I told her my veins are a junkie's dream.  She laughed and we started chatting.  When her kids asked what she did at her job, she told them she collected blood from people.  They said, "Oh, like a vampire!"  She said "Yeah, like that!"  I said we think alike.  I tell people that I'm going to the doctor to do "the vampire thing, they're gonna suck my blood."  She said she likes to tease her eleven year old son about a prominent vein in his neck. She tells him, "Oh, that's a sexy vein, I'm gonna tap that some day!"  Her friends tell her that her kids are going to need therapy.  She responds everybody needs therapy so it may as well be for something hilarious instead of something real.  I pretty much agreed with that.  She then proceeded to tell me what a great kid her son is, very kind and generous.  She told me about a time when they were in a convenience store in a rough area of Ypsilanti.  Her son was about five years old at the time.  A working girl came in, bought a snack and a drink.  When she went to leave, the boy went to the door, held it open for her and said, "Have a nice day!"  The girl started tearing up and told mom that usually parents grab their kids and drag them away from her.  She really appreciated being treated with courtesy and kindness.  More recently, they were in a store again.  Her son had been carrying his own money, allowance, etc. for a while.  There was a homeless guy at the counter cashing in bottles.  He didn't have enough money to get the food he wanted, so her son collected all the stuff the man had not been able to buy, plus a little extra, bought it and gave it to the man.  Then they went outside and collected more bottles for the guy.  She said she had tried to set that kind of example for her kids.  A patient came in one day, again, probably homeless.  She noticed him using some paper towels trying to wipe some dirt from his face and arms.  She brought him so wipes and said she'd be back in a little bit, gave him time to clean himself up a little more.  When he was done with his appointment, she put some more wipes and tissues in a bag, along with some crackers, and gave the stuff to him.  I said her son was going to be a great human being, then changed it to say, no, he already is a great human being.  Best medical appointment ever.  I felt really good when I left.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Value your work

I did my first two hour Salvation Army bell ringing shift of the year on Saturday.  My Kiwanis club does it at the Kroger store here in town.  We do two hour shifts because we are geezers and can't handle eight hours.  I reported for duty at 11 A.M., only to learn that my scheduled time was 1 P.M. to 3 P.M.  Fortunately, this misstep did not set the tone for  the shift.  Of course, the kids are always adorable, begging their parents for money to put in the bucket.  ( Right on, kids!  Keep it up! )  We always give them a candy cane or Hershey's kiss.  Then a young couple came out of the store with party type groceries.  The guy had a twelve pack of  Rolling Rock beer.  He put it down on the chair provided for us to rest when necessary.  I said, "Oh, you brought me some beer!  Thank you!"  Beer always makes a shift go so fast!
Then a man came in wearing Michigan Department of Corrections jacket and knit hat.  I recognized him from Huron Valley Correctional Facility so I said hello, asked how things were going.  I told him things were great for me, because I am retired now.  CO Dolan said he could go any time, figured he would put in another year, which would make a 31 year career.  He said he was discouraged because he feels society devalues what he does for a living, even though he is proud of his career and the work he does.  I agreed with him.  People have no idea what his job is like. We chatted for awhile longer, lamenting the current state of affairs at the Department.  Then a guy came out of the store and said to him, "Oh, you work as a guard.  You're a babysitter."   Ironic, in view of what CO Dolan and I had just been talking about.  His comments irritated me, so I said, "Yeah, for big babies, big MEAN babies".  CO Dolan was angry.  He told the guy, "I take some offense at that.  I go to work every day.   Been called every name in the book.  I've had food and shit thrown at me.  Prisoners have urinated on me.  I work out three times a week so I can deal with these guys and not get hurt."  It turned out the guy had a kid in prison who fed him a line of garbage about what officers do.  Meanwhile my bell ringing shift ended.  I interrupted and asked the guy if  he had ever been threatened with having a nickname tattooed on his asshole.  He said no.  I told him, "Well, I have been."  Then I said good-bye to CO Dolan and went into the store.