Saturday, June 12, 2010

Putnam Hospital Center - Valet Parking

I don't know how many people would say that they enjoy a visit to a doctor's office. Well, here I am admitting that I look forward to my visits to my eye doctor's office. Dr. Allan Farquhar is renouned in our area as a young dedicated ophthalmologist surgeon and I have placed myself completely in his hands. It is with the knowledge that he will do all that he can within his power, to enable me to maintain what vision still remains, so that I may continue to blog for a little while longer. I always leave his office in a very happy mood, filled with exhilaration from all the attention showered upon me, not only from his staff, but from Dr. Farquhar himself who takes time from his exceedingly busy schedule to answer all my questions.

When I leave, I usually sit on a bench in front of 664 Stoneleigh Avenue building (which is part of the Putnam Hospital complex) and wait from zero minutes to an hour for a bus to take me home. I don't mind waiting; I'm happy.....and I watch the perpetual 'movie' enfolding before my eyes.

As people enter or exit the building, I try to decipher from their facial expressions and demeanor what brought them to the hospital today. Have they come to keep an appointment with a doctor in his office, for an x-ray, or have they come to visit a loved-one who is lying in a hospital bed?

Look over there to my right! The new Camarda Building. And my thoughts flow back to the day several weeks ago, when Angela and I had occasion to enter its lobby, and I said: "Wow! its beautiful. Just look at that grand piano! Is this a Music Hall or a Theatre? It certainly should be used for fund-raising events."

At this point, I wish to emphasize that unless I quote " " something, all the thoughts and observations are strictly mine and I'm solely responsible for them.

When I initially came to Carmel, I remember trips to Putnam Hospital required visitors to park their own car and then paying an hourly fee on exiting the grounds. However, on a visit to a doctor's office, you could obtain a validated coupon for free parking. But now, several years later, parking is completely free. To me, this is an Act of Kindness. After all, people do not go to hospitals or doctors' offices for enjoyment; why add insult to injury?

As my eyes roamed the area, I focused on a small shelter tucked-in between bushes just a few feet before the entrance to the building. I realized it was placed there for the use of the valets. I do not know when this valet service began, but I thought it was a nicer way to garner revenue rather than charge everyone for parking. And I wondered what the fee would be!

The shelter was occupied by two, three or four young boys or men wearing bright orange jackets. As a car approached and stopped, and after all passengers were discharged, one of the smiling valets would hand something (a ticket I assumed) to the driver/owner, and wisk the car away.

Then I noticed that some of those, that exited the building, would walk over to the shelter and hand a ticket to one of the valets, who would hustle out to the parking lot to retrieve the car. And here is when I noted two different scenarios work out:

1. When a car was retrieved and presented to the owner, I noticed the owner stretch out his arm and shake the hand of the valet, both smiling at each other. Then the valet still smiling raised his hand as if in an army-salute, but probably more as if waving goodbye.

2. When a car was retrieved and presented to the owner, I noticed the owner look away from the valet, get in the car and drive away.

I sat there saying to myself "I don't understand this; I must get to the bottom of it". I rose and slowly walked to the shelter. I approached the valets and said "I've been sitting on that bench and watching you boys work....and I'm puzzled. How much is the fee and how and when is it collected?" With a great big grin on all their faces, each eager to explain: "Lady, there is no charge; its free." Then I asked a question which I prefaced with 'I probably should not ask this and you don't have to answer' but "are you volunteers?" There was just a slight hesitancy, but then one young man spoke for all of them........and let me put it this way for my blog-readers: Its a great service the hospital offers and they gladly volunteer to serve as valets at a minimum wage. The tips, of course, make for a descent living, especially in this bad economy when lots of boys and young men can't find a job. They are rendering a service and enjoy doing it.

Kudos to Putnam Hospital for expending revenue by hiring caring young men to serve the visitors that make use of their facilities. Every hospital should follow their example.

However, I believe an Act of Kindness should, at least, be rewarded by an Act of Appreciation. So to those who just keep taking and not giving....Shame on you! The next time.....just look at the person and say 'Thank you"; it doesn't cost anything.


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