A Coat for a Stranger

For Nico Gonzalez, a food service attendant at Manchester Memorial Hospital, November 15 started out as a typical workday, preparing and delivering meal trays to inpatients. But, this remarkable young man would turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary one for a patient and the hospital.
As he was going from patient room to patient room delivering meal trays, he overheard a conversation that a patient was being discharged. Great, he thought. However, he learned that there was an immediate problem—a serious problem, in fact. The patient only had light clothing and no coat, and the day’s temperature was more like winter than fall. After Gonzalez had finished serving the patients on the nursing floor, he immediately went to his locker, pulled out his winter coat, and brought it to the patient’s nurse and requested that the coat be given to the patient being discharged. The nurse was impressed by his selfless act of kindness and thought the director of his department should know what a caring employee he had working for him.
“I called Nico into the office to acknowledge and congratulate him on what he had done for the patient, which is what we do when a member of our staff goes above and beyond their responsibilities,” said Mike Greenberg, Director of Food & Nutrition Services at ECHN. Greenberg said that Nico looked at him and said in all sincerity, “Mike, it’s not about getting praises; I have heat in my car and another coat in my closet for tomorrow. I don’t know what the patient has.” “I am so proud of Nico; he is an amazing person,” said Greenberg.
What most people don’t know is these acts of kindness by employees happen frequently. They don’t get publicized often because the employee or team wishes to remain anonymous. Like Gonzalez, they see their actions as nothing more than what anyone else would do. However, at ECHN, we think they are healthcare heroes who deserve to be recognized for taking our Core Values to a whole new level.