‘Twas was a dark and cold December night, as associates prepared to change shifts, with visions of the falling snow piling up on their cars in drifts.
But when they looked out the windows, to their delight, there instead appeared a wonderful sight: Ascension Via Christi St. Francis second-shift Security Officers Mike Robinson, Austin Phillips and Ethan Love busily clearing the ice and snow that had formed on the vehicles belonging to nearly 70 hospital associates.
Theresa Skaggs, a nurse on 4SE, was so moved by what she saw that she posted a thank you on a Wichita nurses’ Facebook group. It read, “To the gentlemen from Security at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis who were scraping employees’ windows at shift change this evening..God Bless You!!!”
Within no time, the post had already garnered nearly 1,000 likes and comments, including one from Diane Mies, RN, who works in the Burn Center.
Wrote Mies: “I am on crutches from knee surgery and they drove me to my car and also cleaned it off for me!
"It totally started off as a joke, like ‘Hey can I catch a ride?’ and they did it without a question."
That came as no surprise to John Sullivan, who leads Security for Ascension Via Christi’s Wichita hospitals.
“After they helped the first nurse, they got to thinking about what it must be like to work 12-plus hours only to get off work and find your windshield iced over,” says Sullivan. “So they began clearing the windshields one after another and soon had to take their coats off because they got so hot!
“They saw a need, had the time and just did it because they wanted to help out,” says Sullivan, noting that while the snow is now gone, he continues to hear from staff about his officers’ heart-warming deed.
Phillips, who has served the hospital for three years, says he didn’t expect the torrent of positive feedback that their downtime activity generated.
“We all happened to see an associate on crutches walk out and we offered to scrape her windows,” he says. “Then it just expanded from there because we didn't have a lot going on at that time and it was fun to see everyone happy. We definitely didn’t expect this recognition.”
Phillips says he enjoys helping associates’ have a better day whenever possible, noting that while his team’s interactions with patients are usually short, nurses are dealing with others’ needs all day long. “So the little things we can do to help them are fun,” he says.
Love, who joined Ascension Via Christi a little over a year ago, says he has met many people who he now considers to be friends who have had an incredible impact on his life.
“I have come to learn just how diverse Ascension is,” says Love, adding that he and his Security teammates enjoy serving alongside “the true heroes” and counts himself fortunate to work with “such incredible people.”
Adds Robinson, who has been at Ascension Via Christi two years, loved the idea of giving back to those who give all day. “After caring for and treating patients all day, we are ready to take care of them. We always pride ourselves on making this place better!”
From left to right: Officer Michael Robinson, Officer Ethan Love and Officer Austin Phillips in front of the Christmas tree in the Ascension Via Christi St. Francis lobby.