Hospitable Bill

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Hospitable Bill

Saints of Mercy Hospital had an imposing figure that roamed quietly down the halls.  The first reaction people had towards him was one of awe.  The man, while thin in physique, stood well over six feet.  His dark brown skin and naked head reflected the florescent lights that buzzed in the ceiling fixtures.  The man’s head was large, his cheeks were sunken, and his default expression was one that tended to frighten small children.  However, the hospital was always grateful to have him around.

Bill, the tall man with a towering frame, was not an employee of the hospital.  He was a volunteer of sorts.  He had been cleared by the human resources department, but he didn’t have anyone checking in on him with any regularity.  By now, the staff knew that he helped in a way that they couldn’t coach or instruct.  Bill just had a gift.

ImageAs rumor around the hospital went, it had started about seven years ago.  There had been a fire, an earthquake, or a train crash, depending on who was telling the story.  Regardless, the staff had been overwhelmed with new patients.  Ambulances kept pulling up with their bright lights glaring through the windows while gurneys burst through the double doors as medical staff ran by spewing medical terms.  Men and women alike screamed with agony in the waiting room while doctors worked to control the seemingly endless injuries.  Panic was trying to force its way into each patient’s room.  It was as if the concerned loved ones in the waiting room could see the victims suffering through the walls and they were traumatized by the thought of it all.

As the doctors and nurses scurried from one injured individual to the next, Bill had been seen wandering around the hallways.  He had suffered a mild concussion and a white bandage with a red circle resided in the middle of his forehead; a stark contrast to his placid face.  He started sitting next to people in the hallways. 

Slowly, ever so gradually, a sense of calm started to take over the floor.  There were still dozens of people seeking medical treatment.  The broken bones did not get miraculously healed and the wounds were not sewn up out of nowhere.  But the attitude shifted.  Hope was restored with every person that Bill visited. 

Ever since then, Bill had done his best to find time to come in and just talk to people.  It was funny; from far away his boney features and great height were off-putting.  However, when he sat down next to someone on a plastic waiting room chair, or when he knelt down in front of a crying child, he became the most approachable person anyone could think of.  When a mother cried and told Bill about her teenage son who had gotten into a car accident, Bill sat there and took it all in.  A look of concern and understanding came across his face.  That same expression was comforting to the mother. 

When Bill did smile, which he tried to do with every person that he talked to, it took over the entirety of his face.  His bright teeth and his non-forced grin emerged on the bottom half of his face.  At the same time, his eyes lit up and shone with optimism.  

Bill let people take as long as they needed.  If a husband wanted to recount the forty-six years that his wife had been with him and how he wasn’t ready to lose her yet, Bill would listen as long as the man needed.  His patience and understanding were what made Bill so special.  He didn’t rush people, he didn’t try to fix things; he just tried to be there for them.  He made sure that if someone needed a shoulder to lean on, they could use his.

That is why there is a tall figure walking around Saints of Mercy Hospital.  He is there to remind folks that they walk their own path, but every once in a while, they come across someone who will help them shoulder the load.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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