When I was a teenager, my mother and I drove out to the country to visit my older sister. We left later in the day than planned, and a car hit us as we were going through an intersection. I only had a few scratches, but my mother was unconscious and her blood was everywhere. They took both of us to the emergency room in an ambulance, but they released me long before they would tell me how my mother was doing.

I couldn’t sit still while waiting for the doctor, my father or my sister to show up. It was all nervous energy, but I felt it was best to move around. A man had been sitting quietly in the corner, and he eventually advised me to sit down and relax. He looked well enough, so I asked him why he was there. He smiled and told me his wife was a nurse, and he was waiting for her shift to end.

Sitting a few chairs away from him, we began to talk about the area. It was nothing more than chatting, but it gave me something else to focus on as the wait grew too long. He told me stories about various homes and government buildings, and I told him about the city where I had grown up. All of it was unimportant, but it did help pass the time.

A door eventually opened at the end of the hall, and a doctor called out my name. I was suddenly terrified my mother hadn’t made it, and my legs were weak as I stood up. The man stood with me, and he held out his hand for me to take. My mother was in bad shape, but the doctor said she would recover fully with rest and help. I will never forget the kindness of that nurse’s husband.