This is a blog for my daughter Scarlett. She was born with a complex congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia. She is my little hero.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Kindness Of Strangers

There is a quote from the Tennessee Williams's play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' in which the main character says "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers".  I'm not saying that I have *always* depended on the kindness of strangers, however, it never ceases to amaze me. . . the kindness of others.

My work has a program in which those in need of 'leave' time can solicit others who have an abundance of 'leave' time. Those with several hours of accumulated vacation/leave time {who are willing and able}, may selflessly volunteer to donate some of their time to another who would otherwise be on unpaid leave...see where this is headed?

Back in February/March/April when I was on maternity leave caring for Scarlett post-surgery, I only had 6 weeks of my own vacation/sick leave. A call went out to my co-workers that I was going to be on unpaid leave (starting week 7), and the generosity came pouring in. I was able to be paid for at least 3 more weeks of my time which I otherwise would not have been.

Unfortunately, I am not able to properly thank these people because it is a policy that 'donors' are not revealed to the recipient for privacy purposes. Even if the donor says it is okay to tell the person that they donated, our personnel will not divulge who the kind strangers are. It's a shame, really. But it doesn't make me any less appreciative.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me because I believe in karma. A while back (2 years ago) I had a co-worker who experienced an unexpected medical emergency which required her to be off work to care for a very sick family member who had had a stroke. Although I had very little accumulated vacation time (only 2 days), I donated one day to her (which, at the time was quite a sacrifice!), because she needed it more than me. A year later, I donated again because it's the right thing to do.  If you have...give. Be selfless. Be generous. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.

Well, once again, my co-workers stepped up to the plate to help me for Scarlett's most recent surgery (5-weeks ago today). I had obviously exhausted most of my sick/vacation leave (from being out for 3 months on maternity leave), and once again I would have been on unpaid time off. However, I was able to take 3 weeks off without any interruption in my pay. It is amazing...the caring acts of others. But it doesn't end there...

Last week, I received a phone call from a former co-worker (same company, different department). I hadn't worked with this person in 3 years and had only kept in touch through casual phone calls and in coincidental bumpings-into. She is retiring from our company this week after nearly 30 years of service. Needless to say that she has quite a few unused vacation hours that she has accumulated over the years. She had asked around my former office if anyone knew of anyone who was in need of 'time'. My name came up (she had no idea about Scarlett's heart condition).

She called me and said: I have time and I heard you need time... we got talking about Scarlett about her surgeries, about her recovery. This person said she would immediately send our Personnel division some 'time' for me (that is the only way I know who to thank... if they tell me themselves that they donated leave time to me).

I told her: "I'm going to write about this in my blog". I was so touched that she thought of (remembered) me and furthermore that she took the time to donate some of her leave time to me. Thank you Theresa.

I wish I could thank each and every one of of the people who donated their vacation time to me. I am truly humbled and grateful. My entire family (Todd, Violet, Scarlett and me) thanks you, whoever you are. God Bless You All : )

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