Doctors and nurses across the world continue to fight the coronavirus and treat patients around the clock. They endure longer than usual shifts, shortages of personal protection equipment and prolonged exposure to the very virus they’re battling. It’s hard to imagine the physical and mental toll this outbreak is taking on these people. However, every once in a while we can get a glimpse into their universe thanks to social media.
Registered nurse Allison Swendsen works in the emergency room at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey. During one of her long shifts recently, she heard loud tapping on a nearby window. She looked up and was surprised to see a man standing in front of it holding up a sign.
The message on his sign was powerful enough to make Swendsen want to capture the moment forever.
— Allison S. (@allie211) March 26, 2020
“Thank you all in emergency for saving my wife’s life,” the man’s message read. “I love you all.”
“This man knew he couldn’t come in but wanted to show some gratitude,” Swendsen wrote in her tweet about the gesture — which was a screenshot of an image she originally posted on her private Instagram. “I asked through the window if I could snap a picture and he nodded. He had tears pouring down his face.”
Even though she didn’t know who the man was, Swendsen wanted to connect with him as much as she could. She poked her head out the door to talk to him and ask about his wife. He told the nurse his wife was “great and she is coming home today.”
Swendsen said seeing the man and her brief conversation with him not only lifted her spirit but also served as a reminder of why she loves her profession.
“I don’t know his wife, but throughout the last 13 years as a nurse, I realized, this is why I do it,” she wrote. “Times are tough, but we make a difference. I love my team.”
The tweet quickly went viral as people connected with the emotion of Swendsen’s story, all captured in that one snapshot. Many people, like Twitter user Lauren Robertson, reached out to her and other health care workers on the front lines with a simple message: “Thank y0u.”
Thank you for all you do & for risking your life every single day. It’s you nurses and doctors and volunteers and staff at the hospitals that are the true heroes. We can’t thank you enough for all you do ❤️
— Lauren Robertson (@LLRobertson75) March 26, 2020
Let’s all keep these amazing healthcare providers in our thoughts as they continue to work tirelessly to save lives and limit the damage the coronavirus can do.