You warmed our hearts with your examples of “random acts of kindness” throughout Beacon Health System.
Here are some of the stories that you shared. We will add others as you send them in the days and weeks ahead. We don’t have to wait for a national holiday, after all, to share acts of kindness and generosity that take place every day.
“My friend and colleague at Elkhart General Hospital, Lori Kaminski, RN, told me of an elderly patient she had cared for who was also a war veteran. She said he had told her about an experience he had during his active duty, where he had fallen into a hole and fractured his leg. Because of his injury and being unable to help, the man had to lay in the hole while he listened to the chaos surrounding him. He had shared many of his experiences, including times when he carried his injured brothers-in-arms out of danger, among other acts of heroism. He told Lori that he felt he was just one of thousands who would, and did perform the act of saving another’s life without even a thought. “It was just what we did, what you do, what anyone would do, given the circumstances,” he told her.
“Lori asked the patient if he had received the Purple Heart or any recognition or Medal of Honor for his bravery and selfless acts. He told her that, regrettably, no, he had not. He added that there were so many men out there performing acts of kindness every second of every day. And although it may have helped to receive recognition of some kind, he did not think it was feasible or even fair to expect that.
“That night, Lori went out and found a purpose gem stone and made this hero of a man his own “Purple Heart” and presented it to him the very next day.
“This man said that anyone would have done the same as he had done. But I believe that although anyone may think about acting heroic, not everyone would act on it. In my eyes, this gentleman’s random acts were heroic and so were Lori Kaminski’s.
“I cried the day Lori told me this story and it continues to hold its imprint on my heart today. So many random acts of kindness infiltrate this story and the number of recipients of that kindness can not be determined. I can tell you, however, that my life has been forever changed and blessed by a nurse and her patient. Whenever I think of random acts of kindness, it is them that I see.” — Karen Eggleston, RN, BSN, CMSRN
“I am a nurse up on Oncology at Elkhart, and we have all been working hard and picking up extra shifts. Well to show the gradetude that my educator had she went out and bought me a stuffed penguin just like hers. In the past I have always bugged her about having hers that sits in her office, because it is cute and I love penguins. I came into work one day and I looked in my locker, and there sat a penguin and a Thank You card. My educator Marcie Carlsen is the best and she really knows how to make someones week, when it hadn’t been the best week in the world. Attached is the picture of the penguin and Thank You letter found in my locker!” — Katie Lamberson, RN, BSN
“Strong words, and for us in the medical world, has special meaning. From CRNA’s in main surgery using their phones to play movies and songs for kids to help calm them before being put to sleep. To making balloon animals in radiology (Steve). Taking time to hear that a co-worker was having a hard time because her dad was having brain surgery and was depressed. Buying small gifts for others (Anesthesia Techs). Security Guards paying for taxi cab transportation and buying snacks for those who found themselves late in the ER with no money. And I’m sure the list is longer, but just some of Elkhart General Hospital’s Acts of kindness not noticed but happening everyday. — Randy Smith, Lead Anesthesia Tech
“It was a Friday when my son and I were at a bakery in North Judson. We had already walked to our car as we notice an elderly man walk out and miss the step. We both ran to him and helped as much as we could. He did not want an ambulance. We all got him up and moving around. As we were leaving one of the servers new the man and asked him if he wanted a ride home because he walked to the bakery. I thought that was the sweetest thing. She was a young girl. You do not see that coming from the young generation. An act of kindness most definitely.” — Sharon Benoit
“When I was an office nurse, sometimes you would get those special patients that just earn your complete respect. I was working for a specialist at the time. We had a patient who was a young single mother. She worked at a local fast food restaurant as a manager. She had recently been diagnosed with a debilitating auto immune disease, which required her to be on costly meds. She often had to miss much work. She incurred quite a bit of debt and we worked with her on that. She came in every week to make payments like clockwork. It rolled around to Christmas one year. She was still having many challenges. My family has been blessed. Every year my Dad would give us kids a moderate cash gift. That year, I decided that she needed it more than I did so I took my gift and secretly sent it to her. She came in the office a few days later and told us that an ‘Angel’ sent her a gift and she was so extremely happy! She told us she was able to pay her electric bill, buy some groceries and had came in to make a larger than usual payment to our office. With whatever she had left was going to be used to treat her and her young daughter to lunch at McDonalds. they were excited! I was so amazed at her response — it made my heart swell. I still secretly do things like this when I am able. It feels good to make someone else feel joy. Paying it forward is never a mistake, even if it is simply helping someone load their groceries or holding a door open.” — M. Kathy Leib
“My mom was recently an inpatient. She had been transferred to a different room at one point due to her roommate having influenza. Ambyr was her nurse in her first room, and even though she wasn’t her nurse anymore, she was still checking in on my mom whenever she would see me. Her next nurse, Megan, was always so helpful as well. My mom, unfortunately got transferred to Critical Care. But Megan, who was not my moms nurse that day, stepped in and helped her current nurse get things packed up and helped move her. I appreciate all of their compassion and kindness they gave my mom!!” — A.W.
“Every morning when I encounter my supervisors, they make me feel special and give me a warm welcome. One of them sings “Sweet Caroline” to me (it takes FOREVER to get that tune out my head — LOL) and the other addresses me as “South Carolina”. I think its cute, and starts my day with the feeling of acceptance and importance. Thanks EVS supervisors Rusty Tombs and Steven Spurrier!” — Caroline Cole
“It was the week after Christmas 2016. I went to Walmart in the middle of the night to do some shopping, as I do weekly. I work 3rd shift so even on my days off I get more done around the house in the middle of the night. Shopping is one of them. Well, as you know after Christmas is over the candy and all Christmas items go on sale for like 50% to 75% off the regular price. So I load up on all kinds of bargains. As a cashier was checking my items, she was checking out all the great deals I got. She made a comment on a bag of fudge that I happened to have two of in my cart. The flavor was butter beer fudge. I picked it because I knew it had to be good if the name had “butter” in it. Anyways, the lady looked at a bag of it and commented, “Oh that looks good! You found fudge back there? I’ll have to get some if there is any left by the time I go home.” There were only three bags left back on the clearance aisle and one was a different flavor. After she finished checking my items that I had in my cart, I pushed my cart over to the side and found a bag of that fudge and walked over to her, gave it to her and told her Merry Christmas! She gave me a BIG smile and a hug and thanked me. Of course I went out the door smiling all the way to my car and then some. I felt great for doing that. And I know it made her night at work brighter, too.” — Tammy Steinbrunner, RPSGT
“After a particularly busy and challenging night shift, I went into the locker room to grab my personal items and go home. I sat on the bench to gather my thoughts for a few moments. I looked at my phone text from co-worker Katie Lamberson, RN, which read, “There is a pre-paid coffee downstairs for you.” It brought a smile to my face to know that I have such an amazing friend and co-worker.” — Stacie Meyers, RN
“I was recently on 3HV and spoke with nurse Berri. I noticed her red purse and complimented it. She said it was too big for her, and that she would bring it in to give to me. I said no, thank you and didn’t even think about it after that. Today, she called lab and told me to pick up my purse from her floor. The fact that she kept her word surprised me. I’m so thankful for her kindness and thoughtfulness. This isn’t the first time. She always exhibits this kind of behavior. She is always bringing in homemade treats for her coworkers and is just a genuinely caring and giving person.” — Nadine Brown
Email your stories to TheBeam@beaconhealthsystem.org or post them to The Beam under the comment section below.