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Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Small Moment that Touched Me in a Big Way

Norman Rockwell. Source

This morning at a new doctor's office, one I'd never been to before. Arrangements had been made in advance so that this visit would be covered by an independent charity agency for this kind of care. This is all the folks at this office knew about me – that I live in Paterson, a locally notorious, low-income, high-crime city, and that I couldn't pay for their medical services.

Doctor's visit was over and I was being serviced by a technician. Middle-aged white man, very short hair, small, narrow-framed glasses. White shirt. Officious. No bedside manner. No radiation of warmth. The kind of guy who'd be the one we'd want the female lead in a romantic comedy to dump so that she could go off with Brad Pitt or George Clooney or Tom Hanks.

Generic White Tech Guy told me I would need to return in a couple of days to pick something up.

"Is there any way you could mail it to me?" I asked. "I can give you money for postage."

"Is there a problem?" he asked.

"I walked here this morning from Paterson," I said. "It took me three hours."

And a bit of sanity. I walked one road, straight, without turning, from sidewalk drug dealers and garbage avalanches to McMansions and running brooks and nature preserves and private, pine-enshrouded, alpine-architecture academies for Christian students.

Generic White Tech Guy said nothing. Got up. Went into the next room. I listened. Was he calling the charity agency to report that I was too much trouble?

"Billy, is mommy home? How about your older brother? We have a patient here and she needs a ride home."

I can't say here how much that phone call touched me.

There are people like that out there. And moments like that.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing that moment - it gave me one. So glad to hear it!