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Going The Extra Mile

In this day and age, it is so easy to become wrapped up in the minutia of everyday life that we fail to seize opportunities for service to others. We get distracted by the emails piling up in our inbox and the ever growing to-do list on our desk, not to mention the never-ending phone calls. We are living in an age where everything is streamlined and designed to be quick and painless and we forget that slowing down and noticing our surroundings and the people in our lives is just as important as productivity. A small act of kindness, a moment spent truly connecting can have a lasting impact on both a client and an employee as FSL team member Kenya learned.

It was just a normal day. Another drive to an assisted living home, another task on the to-do list, another patient in a room full of the like. Kenya stopped to talk with a resident named Beverly for a moment, enjoying the quick-witted humor that belied the frail and fall-prone body that had seen a century of hard work. Kenya spoke with Beverly and listened to the stories and jokes that seemed to pour out. She learned that Beverly had a son who visited often, bringing her clothing and medication, as well as company. She shared that she was very happy in her home, but did regret that she could no longer make regular visits to the salon, something she had enjoyed for many years. A friendship formed between Kenya and Beverly, but the reality of a job to do and a work schedule eventually broke up the conversation. As Kenya left the home, she began thinking not of her to-do list or her emails, but how she could serve Beverly and help her regain the confidence of her youth.

Kenya returned, along with her sister and mother a few days later, beauty supplies in hand. The women enjoyed their companionship for an afternoon, and eventually explained the reason for their visit; a “trip to the salon” for Beverly. She was overjoyed at the prospect of having her hair done once again, and allowed Kenya and her family to set to work washing and untangling her matted hair. With nimble hands, braids quickly took form, giving Beverly confidence once again. Her hat sat off to the side, forgotten and no longer necessary. After looking in the mirror at the finished product, Beverly paused and then Kenya and her family heard her say “I look so beautiful.” It was not her words, but her change in demeanor that brought home the realization that something as simple as a trip to the salon can have such an impact on someone’s life. “I was blessed to have this experience” says Kenya.

Slowing down is not always easy and giving up time to help someone else can seem nearly impossible when we struggle to find time for our own needs. Oftentimes, it’s easy to accept that we have little to offer others and that our limited budgets preclude us from giving back. Thankfully, Kenya was able to take a moment to connect with Beverly and find a way to do something so small but that meant so much. Unfortunately, Beverly passed away shortly after her afternoon with Kenya and her family, but she was able to spend her last weeks feeling just as confident and beautiful outside as she was on the inside. An afternoon spent in service to our clients is worth so much, and we are so thankful to have employees like Kenya who exemplify our mission to allow our neighbors to age with dignity and independence.