A cook and a janitor with a conscience

Many times in the news, you will read of official, of corporate officers, of members of law enforcement, who after some tragedy or disaster, will provide the Nixon-like apology purporting to “take responsibility.” They may even use language like “hard choices” or “mistakes were made.”

They speak of making changes to a process or hide behind the claim that proper procedures were followed, but they led to unfortunate consequences.

However, the person speaking rarely makes any difficult choices or really takes any responsibility that matter. They leave the press conference and their day resumes with no real changes.

Oddly, it is often those with the least responsibility and accountability, who demonstrate true leadership and who do the right thing, not because they are paid or required to do it by law, but because it is the right thing to do.

An assisted care facility in California closed last year, and apparently the “management” walked out the door. However, they left 16 residents behind. These residents had nowhere to go and some had dementia, so were unable to care for themselves.

A cook and the janitor, who were no longer being paid, discussed the issue and decided, “If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody.” So they stayed.

Working 23-hour shifts, and only going home to shower and change clothes, the two men took care of the residents until the “authorities” managed to take over.

Nursing homes, long-term or assisted care facilities often have problems. Mismanagement and understaffing often lead neglect or injuries and worse for residents. When you choose a nursing home or a long-term care facility, you need to consider all elements of the care provided.

You should carefully examine all aspects of a nursing home that you or your parents reside in, but you can only hope they have some employees with the character of these two men.

Npr.org, “‘If We Left, They Wouldn’t Have Nobody’,” November 21, 2014

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