Ryder Employees Thankful
Authored by Alex Lessard, Marketing Coordinator
On our way to Ryder Hospital--traffic lights don’t work, cars don’t use turn signals, but somehow there doesn’t seem to be a need for either. Puerto Rico has adapted. Peer-run traffic is a well-oiled machine.
We arrive at Ryder 30 minutes early: its 8:45 but the sun is at high noon. We’re ushered through the main entrance and down the front hall. There is a packed admissions room to our left. The hospital is understaffed, and just like cars the staff seamlessly dart around us and each other. We cross a covered walkway outside to get to the extension of the hospital where the donations are. I snap a picture of their generator visible beneath us under the bridge, loud and humming.
Ryder’s community room is a long lounge area with 9 foot ceilings and a wall of windows letting in bounced rays of sun. Miguel sets up tables at the far end from where we enter. Staff arrange fans at all corners of the room creating a breeze--the kind you automatically proclaim about to others. A nurse named Lydia brings us cold juice and honey glazed pastries.
We start opening the boxes, familiarizing ourselves with the contents of each one. Bags of clothes and essentials fill the table tops by the time we're half way through unpacking. Then the first person arrives … followed by the next... and so on. You can imagine a sort of eagerness we had in handing out the donations. These people from Ryder have been waiting months for simple things like socks, a shirt, a pillow, a bed. When a line would form we'd ask for names all at once so we could hand them their bags so they could finally have these things. But if you paid any slight attention to those in line you would see what it really meant for them.
I asked a woman next in line what her name was and raced to get her bags. I brought them over to her but she didn’t notice me. Her eyes were on the person before her who just received theirs and was having another staff member translate for them what I could only imagine was a lengthy way of saying, “Thank you.”
We saw this pattern continue in those receiving their bags and goods. They were patient. They didn’t want to just come and go. They each had something to say from the heart, or a strong handshake that wasn’t short, or a hug that wasn’t empty. We were grateful to represent the generosity of SNHH employees, and to deliver first-hand the donations contributed by our peers.