Chance Encounter

A few weeks ago, I unexpectedly became a patient in the cardiac unit of an area hospital. After I’d been there a couple of days, there was a knock at my door and two teenagers came in. They asked if I wanted a book or magazine or newspaper to read. I thanked them and held up my iPad and said that I was good for now. They promised to come back the next day. And so they did.

Candy Striper

I still didn’t need extra reading material, but they stayed and chatted for a bit. I told them that I hadn’t thought about it in years, but that I used to volunteer at a hospital just like they were. And although I had originally signed up to have it on my college applications, that I had enjoyed giving patients reading material or reading to them more than any other assigned tasks. I honestly think that’s the reason I did it for a couple of years.

When I told them, we had been called candy stripers because of the uniform, they were in hysterics. (They were dressed in jeans, t-shirts and sneakers.) I googled it to show them a picture and they laughed even harder. I was surprised to find how many “adult” versions there are…

They came back to visit almost every day I was in the hospital and were always the highlight of my day. They talked about favorite books, music and movies and were surprised that I knew what they were talking about. I told them about life before cell phones and computers.

It’s funny how a chance encounter made me remember being a candy striper and how it’s doubtful it would have ever come up again otherwise. It also makes me appreciate finding another thread in the fabric of how I came to love books as much as I do and why I became a bookseller.

Even though I’m not working as a bookseller any longer, I feel that once you’re a bookseller, you’re one for life. This is one of the reasons why I’m happy to be able to support the Binc Foundation in their mission to strengthen the bookselling community. To learn more, find out how to get involved or donate today.

Post by Mary Fitzgerald, optimistic member of the Marketing & Communications Committee.

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