He had recently had an operation on his toe, the man in the triage area said. Now, he had re-injured the toe and he could not stop the bleeding. He appeared sad and lonely to Carmen, a nurse in Florida Hospital's Emergency Department, as she pulled away the dressing.
"I looked at his foot and said, 'well, it looks like the bleeding has stopped, but would you like me to wash your feet?' He immediately said, 'can I?' And he sort of lit up," Carmen recalls.
She soaked his feet in a basin of warm, soapy water, cleaned the injured toe and dressed the wound. While caring for his foot, she found out his heart ached, too, after the recent death of his wife. He was living in his car, with only 75 cents to his name. He needed human touch and someone to listen and care for him at that point," Carmen says.
She slipped the foot into an orthopedic shoe, then went to her purse and handed him some money. He hesitated, but took it.
Two days later, a $20 bill arrived in an envelope addressed to Carmen. Inside was a letter from the gentleman, and it really, really was very emotional to feel that he took the time to write such a beautiful letter of gratitude," Carmen says. "In my profession as a nurse, every day is an opportunity. I believe we're all in a position where we can really make a difference in people's lives."