Vicki’s Further Delivery Adventures:
Many of you are parents and we are often surprised by our kids. Imagine my surprise when my (as of today) 23-year-old daughter, Audrey, says to me yesterday “need any help at MOWGLV?” I said “sure” and asked Keri (you know, the one you can’t say “no” to for the next seven weeks?) for a route. I thought I would deliver with Audrey and take her for a quick lunch for her birthday. Keri gave us E-13.
Terri Hineline, our Easton pick-up site volunteer “host,” said “OMG! That is our hardest route!” That is usually not a good sign for me since you know I am likely to have some sort of adventure while delivering. Terri quickly sent me a full page of “helpful hints” for the route, which really were extremely helpful. It never hurts to have more intel.
The things that happened on the route are the typical things that can happen to any volunteer, but especially newer ones. I always humbly offer my experiences so that no one feels bad about when they do something similar. I don’t know why I’m so honest since I do some idiotic things. I won’t even blame Audrey.
We had our share of some goofy things, like using the wrong entrance to an apartment building so it took 10 minutes to find the client’s door, or just taking one meal to the door when the couple got two (ok, that was Audrey’s fault because she failed to turn the route sheet page).
Two big things stand out. The first was a lengthy conversation with a client who lived on the lower level of an apartment building. She had to make several comments about our height–Audrey is 5’9”. I tried to change the subject and ask how her meals were and, of course, she said everything was fabulous. She loves her volunteers and looks so forward to seeing them. I said, “You know if you have anything to say you can tell me because I work at MOW.” She only continued to say how wonderful everything was. Awesome. I told her that Audrey didn’t work at MOW, that she was my daughter and it was her birthday. Well, at that, the client stepped out into the hallway and sang a full chorus of “Happy Birthday.” It was lovely, sweet, and just all-around brilliant. I thought we would both cry. At this point, we can’t stop the client from talking, but we found out we had some connections. I used to live not too far from where she lived, I knew people in the town where she used to live, etc. The delight on her face as I kept making these connections was intense. This was one of those instances where clients put a smile on their faces and the interaction exemplifies “more than a meal”—for both client and volunteer.
As if that wasn’t enough, we met the maintenance staff at Shiloh manner after our last delivery. He stopped us, looked right at Audrey, and said “do you like or love what you do?” Without hesitation, she said, “I love it.” He asked her why she said that and she said “because it’s my birthday and I’m choosing to do this.” (Ok, really happy parent moment here; let me bask in it, please). The conversation went on with him for a good 5 more minutes. He talked about how some people just do a job because it’s a job, but they don’t really “love” it. He was so glad to see people who love what they were doing. I know he feels that way because of all of you who go into that building I know that your smiles and pleasantries are genuine and he picks up on it. So, “Uncle Joe” was definitely on our list of why this day was so good. (And, many thanks to Terri for the note about mask-wearing being required in that building. I’ve adjusted the route sheet accordingly).
Terri didn’t think that this route would deliver the experiences that I’ve recounted when I’ve done an Allentown route. No, there were no crazy narrow alleys that made me fear for scraping up the agency vehicle, but I don’t need that kind of excitement.
I’d much rather be with someone who has donated time from her special day to help others. The joy that was in the “happy birthday” moment, or the conversation with “Uncle Joe,” was the icing on the cake.