Sunday, April 20, 2008


I like to tell people that I have the best job at the hospital. Where other folks spend their working days placing IVs in children, giving parents bad news, rushing grant applications, spending endless hours in labs doing important research, or making difficult decisions about the future of our institution, I get to hang out in the most fun part of the hospital, making coffee for everyone who needs a cup.

Part of the fun is getting to know a cross-section of our hospital...mostly staff, but also visitors and families. I've gotten to know exactly how seven-year-old "Keith" likes his hot chocolate, how a prominent scientist likes his latte, and which coffee blends are favored by post doc researchers.

And then there are the moments that really knock my socks off. There's a parent who comes by our store nearly every day. "Janey" orders the same coffee every time: four cappuccinos, along with four pastries. (Usually she gives me free reign to select the pastries.) This order costs a bit more than $20. Four or five days a week. Yes, that's about $100 per week. Did I mention who the coffee and snacks are for? No? They're for the nurses who are taking care of her daughter.

This woman, about my age, never shows the strain of being in the hospital with a sick child. She is very, very beautiful and her smile lights up the room. She's cheerful and funny, and obviously generous.

And if she were none of those things, given the difficulty of her current situation....1000 miles away from home, with her husband and other daughter just as far away...I wouldn't blame her a bit. If she were cranky or distracted or tearful, I wouldn't be at all surprised.

But she's meeting this challenge with grace and graciousness and gratitude, and I look forward to her daily visit. That visit reminds me that I work in an amazing place, full of amazing people, and that we have so many opportunties, every day, to do good, to make new friends, to make a difference in someone's life.

I'm trying to rise to the challenge. If Janey can be that great with so many obstacles, I can be that great too. My life is pretty easy: my kids are healthy and smart, my husband is great, I have a good job. My list of complaints and worries is short. But the opportunities I have to do better - to be kinder, more generous, more helpful, more inspiring - are ample.

Amazing what a person can learn while making coffee.


Ashleigh Carroll said...

GREAT post, Kaleigh. Thanks for the encouragement this Monday morning!

Rhonda said...

Unfortunately, I tend to be a bit, umm, negative in everyday life. Recently, I've decided I need to be more appreciative of what I DO HAVE in my life instead of constantly being consumed by what I (perceive) I DON'T HAVE. Your post is a clear reminder that whatever you believe is wrong with your life, it could ALWAYS be so very much worse. Thank you.

alan said...

I'm kinda missing the more regular writing, even if it was mundane when it was about your daily life. You should write more.

Backpacking Dad said...

That's really inspiring. Thank you for that.

MadWomanMeg said...

What a fantastically written, inspirational post. I wish that more people, myself included, could see the things that you do. Bravo!

Rikki said...

Ahh...thanks for taking the time to write that post. When my kids get up from nap I am going to kiss them, tell them how much I love them, and try to be more patient.

We do really have it good, don't we?

Found you by way of DGM and deedee. Keep on bloggin'!

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