Jul 26, 2014


Eight years ago, I had a franchise business I never should have gone near. The one-on-one with customers was the part I always had fun with, as I can talk about anything just for fun. Joan, a regular customer every Saturday, was fast  deteriorating with Alzheimer's. Her husband had died a couple of months earlier, but she didn't seem very aware of it. The person who had been accompanying her for a while moved. The new person was not fit for the job. As Joan was trying to grab her bearings, her helper became more forceful. When that didn't work I could see the frustration of each of them. It escalated back and forth, until I could see Joan being physically forced to sit, and about to explode. It was not my place to get in the middle, but by this time, as a person, not a business owner I could not just sit still. In the past I have seen parents try to force their kids to do something with more force. WHY? It doesn't work. You get them to want to do it. You stop, breathe, find out what the person needs to make it work for them, and it all falls in place. I never worked with an Alzheimer's personally or professionally. I decided they are not kids. They are adults who need guidance for functioning. So I scooted over, and she seemed to remember me, But I couldn't tell. I immediately told her she didn't have to stay, and was free to do anything she wanted. Then she, (hearing the music in the background) said, "shall we dance)......instantly we were doing International standard ballroom waltz....between customers and employees.....after a few seconds we stopped. We talked for a few seconds. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "what am I doing here?" I told her why she came every week, and I have someone that can help her, if she would like to stay. She got a big smile on her face and sat down. forty five minutes later, I saw her as she was walking out. She doesn't seem to remember anyone more than ten minutes later. She turned and glanced my way. Then she froze in her tracks, and thought for a second, and walked over to me. She looked me straight up close in the eyes and said "Sometimes all it takes is a moment of kindness...thank you." We hugged. She walked out with a smile. That was the last time I ever saw her, as the Alzheimer's was taking it's toll. She died not too long after. I lost a small fortune in that business. Years later, it's the moments that had nothing to do with money I cherish, and remember, and take with me.

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