I was recently in a hospital. My wife just gave birth to a beautiful boy and I was spending a few days with them before the three of us got dismissed home. I was at the cafeteria and just got some non-nutritional, overpriced food that I was ready to pay for. It turned out that their credit card machine was down and I asked the cashier if I was OK with what I got if I only had $6 cash. Before she could open her mouth, a guy behind me, older, sickly guy, offered to spot me the difference. She said it’s fine, the bill only came to $4.01, and she was quick to tell me that I didn’t have to walk away with 99 cents jingling in my pocket and had an extra penny. I got my $1 change and was just doctoring the coffee when that old guy pulled up next to me. I thanked him again, not entirely shocked with the help he offered but more trying to be polite and admiring that these things still happen. He obviously responded no problem but then said something like “this is a hospital, if not here, then where?” implying that it was the most appropriate place for that and other acts of kindness to happen. At that moment I looked around and saw all kinds of people- cancer, heart patients, people on crutches, old and lonely people. I had seen them all along but now saw them with a new perspective. All of a sudden, to me this was a frontier, a final stand between life and death, where people don’t divide themselves into black and white, liberal and conservative, rich and poor. This was the ultimate place where you survive or cease to exist. Like a frontier. I don’t know if that stranger was terminally ill or walked out of the hospital the next day (and I sure hope it was the latter) but he made me think about our life choices and how we build a network of complex interactions between us and call them something unpronounceable. But at the end if day, we are just people who will one day pass on. In the face of that reality, why don’t we do good things for each other?

2 thoughts on “Hospital”

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I post whenever I feel like it. There is no set schedule. If there was, this would stop being any fun.

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