It’s a steamy summer evening as Sheila Castle, R.N. gratefully boards the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital employee shuttle, mentally reliving her 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift on the vascular access team. She smiles as “Mr. Ben,” the driver, greets her warmly. He always does. She takes a seat, relieved that she can give her throbbing feet a brief respite after 12 hours of running around the hospital.
The street light turns red ahead and Leander Benjamin—a.k.a, Mr. Ben—cautiously slows the shuttle to a halt. Suddenly, he turns and looks at Sheila and her fellow passengers. “Do you mind if I help this woman,” he asks? He knows they are eager to get to their cars, home to a warm bath or a hot meal. They agree to let him lend a hand.
Mr. Ben bounds off the bus toward a woman struggling alone to propel her wheelchair across the street. He guides her to the other side. Sheila shakes her head in wonderment.
Ironic, considering she spends each shift with the same caring, altruistic attitude, but what does it take, she thinks, to be such a good human being? No one asked him to do that. She sighs, satisfied with humanity for the moment.
Mr. Ben hops back in and continues his drive.
In a few minutes, the shuttle reaches the parking garage, bringing weary employees one step closer to home. Mr. Ben once again, turns to the staff preparing to exit and says sincerely, “Thanks for all you do.” It’s a variation of a slogan on their work shirts, but the clinical staff rarely says the words out loud to each other.
True recognition for doing the right thing. For going above and beyond. For improving someone’s day. It can work both ways.
Right back-atcha, Sheila thinks with a smile and steps off the shuttle and into the night.