Without looking he started to cross the street…

Apr 11, 2024

“And did not notice the oncoming bus.”

“See Something, Do Something”

On Monday I spoke to an incredible group of giving professionals that are members of SDA- Senior Dining Association in Orlando.  The attendees represent all aspects of dining (operations, culinary, nutrition, service) for SENIOR DINING FACILITIES across the US and Canada.  Part of my KEYNOTE MESSAGE was sharing a “GOATS” approach (acronym for Giving, Observing, Appreciating, Talking, and Seeing) to LEADERSHIP AND RESIDENT SERVICE EXCELLENCE. 

When I got to the “S” and the “SEEING” best practice, I realized I had another real-life example that happened less than 24 hours earlier.

As I arrived early in Orlando the day before, I challenged myself again to “enjoy the present” by exploring locally.  I ventured to one of the theme parks and had a blast.  While walking back to my hotel, I saw a man about 80 using a wheeled walker to head in my same direction.  He was going very slowly, breathing heavily, and stopping to take breaks along the way.   My pace was much faster than his and I caught up to him quickly.  As to not startle him, I made small talk about “the beautiful day in Florida” and he immediately engaged back in conversation.  I wanted to make sure he was safe and comfortable walking on his own while respecting him and his dignity.  I found out that he grew up in Pittsburgh like me and was visiting the area taking his 3 grandkids to all of the local theme parks.  His wife was to meet him and escort him back but was apparently running late. 

As we approached a very busy intersection, he started to cross perhaps assuming that the traffic would stop for a person using a walker.  I jumped ahead of him and literally put my hand up to stop traffic that appeared to be in a hurry to make it into the park themselves.  He was so grateful that I kept him company and looked out for his safety.  His wife finally met him closer to the hotel entrance and was thankful beyond words for the company. 

Here are the facts:

  • I was walking that way anyway
  • I enjoyed the company and met a new person
  • I began to start missing my family at the park and wished they could be there to join me for the fun
  • I had extra water just in case he needed it
  • His gait reminded me of my 88-year-old mother, and I appreciated the effort to maintain his pace and to strut his independence

This story is not meant to be about me, but about a simple theme that when we “SEE Something, we DO Something”.

I shared this message with these participants and encouraged all of them to try to do the same over the next few days of their conference.  Can’t wait to hear their stories!

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