A Minute Goes a Long Way
So I work security a couple nights a week on the third shift. Working the post that I do, I’m required to give a woman at another post a 30 minute break at some point during our shift. This particular lady happens to be hovering around 80 years old. She’s also a widow with two daughters she doesn't speak to. She lives alone. She's involved with her church and that’s pretty much the extent of her human interaction other than us at work. When she comes in every night to sign in, she always says "just call me before you come give me a break, I may not need one." For the longest time I would oblige, call before and about 95% of those nights she would say she didn't need one, the other 5% applying only when she had to get up to use the restroom.
This went on for probably about a year until one day I called and she kind of snapped on me on the phone when I called. She said, “ you always call, you're supposed to come over here and check on me." And in that moment it dawned on me, she didn't need the break, she just wanted me to go over there and check on her so she could have that feeling, the feeling that someone actually cared about her. Not a phone call, me actually going over there to check on her. The feeling that someone, without asking would go and just make sure she was alright, that's all she wanted. She didn't have that anymore, she had lost pretty much everybody in her life that would care enough to check on her so that little bit, that me just walking over to her post and asking if she's alright and checking on her, even though she knew she was usually going to decline it, she still wanted me to come. That's all she had left. And it meant enough to her that she snapped about it.
I have since started going over there, almost every time she says she doesn't need one, but we talk for a minute and I leave. That time is just a few minutes and a little energy walking over there to me but to her it means a lot more. To her, it’s a break from loneliness, that slight interaction helps her out. Be mindful of little things like that for people. You never know how much something you do can mean to someone. Carry someone's groceries, give someone an extra quarter for their meter, just little things that can really change a persons day and make them feel cared for and a little less alone.