Mr. Tom

I heard a man come quietly in during lunch hour.  Few were in the office but he looked around until he found one of our managers at her desk.  I heard him say, “I’m sorry to bother you but I need to thank someone.”  I tuned in to listen.  Mr. Tom had served over 20 years in prison for an accident from his younger years.  He had messed up, but he had paid his penalty and come out a better man.  He was 64 when he got released.  Medicare was available to him soon, but not soon enough.  Mr. Tom has a heart condition that requires medications that cost over $1,200/month.  He works at a fast food restaurant.  So, he had been referred to Good News Clinics.  He needed some dental work and an echocardiogram and he didn’t have a year to wait until Medicare could help cover it.  Good News Clinics helped him.  He was able to get medications and medical care for his heart.  He was ecstatic as he described how the volunteer dentist spent over an hour working on “just me.”  Mr. Tom had been a number for a long time and talked about how insignificant and low he felt during his time in the prison system.

Mr. Tom showed up on a cold, rainy Friday to simply say thank you.  His Medicare has now kicked in.  He’s no longer a patient here.  But, he explained, during his time under our care, he felt like he mattered, he felt loved here…and it meant so much to him.

I walked into the hall and told him I’d been listening.  I asked if we could talk.  He told me more of his story.  And then, this 65 year old man, through teary eyes, said to me, “I just needed to come say thank you for what you have done.  It may have been a small gap in time, but it was a huge gap in my life that these Good News doctors filled.”  I asked Mr. Tom what he was up to for the rest of the day.  “I’m going now to walk around that pond across the street, to see the geese, and enjoy the park.  I never took time for those things before I went away.  I was too busy working.  But today, I just want to thank you and enjoy the park and the geese.”  Even in the rain and cold, this man wanted to appreciate the day, God’s creation, and the beauty of a simple walk.

Often at Good News, we have much to offer.  But also often at Good News, our patients have much to offer us.  Thanks be to God.