“The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated”
~ Mark Twain
Every once in a while I get a surprise while volunteering. Be it at the driver education classes where the kids come up with some interesting questions, or at my transplant center, where anything can happen, from Code Blues to interesting people.
Not long ago, I was exiting an elevator in the hospital, on a floor where patients in heart failure are frequently present, and as step out, I recognized a man entering the elevator. I stuck my hand over the door sensor to hold the stainless steel elevator door open and the following exchange happened (names changed to protect the innocent) –
Me: “John is that you?”
The man glared at me a few seconds, his eyes getting wider and wider.
Me, as I asked again: “John? John Smith????”
John : Growls at me, with wild looking eyes and asks, “Who’s asking?”
Me : “John, it’s me (insert my first and last name) ….. we worked together in department “X” at company “Y”. (Which was a large company with thousands of employees)
John is almost cowering in the corner of the elevator, shaking, eyes WIDE open, trying to avoid looking me at any cost. He was obviously PETRIFIED!!
Me: Once again, I said, “John, it’s me ….. we worked together years ago!”
John screams: “NO! NO! NO! YOU’RE NOT HERE!! YOU DIED. YOU’RE NOT HERE. YOU’RE NOT HERE! YOU’RE DEAD!”
I could tell he was EXTREMELY uncomfortable and not wanting to cause him any grief, (or a cardiac issue) I smiled and simply said, “No, I survived! Take care of yourself, please.”
With that, I removed my hand from the door sensor, the elevator glided shut and the brief encounter was over…… later, I thought about this and remembered I had heard similar rumors from fellow workers years ago. Then I thought of the quote above ……. see, there was fake news even 12 years ago.