The video I saw this morning supports this notion. It tells the story of an older woman whose life was saved when some Domino’s Pizza employees noticed that the woman had not ordered her daily pizza for the last three days.
Let’s not speculate or judge regarding the daily pizza habit – that’s fodder for another type of blog. Let’s focus on how employees who could have passed off a change in customer behavior as lost business instead decided to do the right thing out of genuine concern for another human being.
It didn’t hurt that 82-year-old Jean Wilson was a creature of habit. Apparently she had ordered a thin crust pepperoni pizza and a pair of diet colas every day for the past three years. When she failed to call on a Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, assistant manager Dale Rosado and pizza delivery driver Susan Guy decided a welfare check was in order.
Guy went to Ms. Wilson’s house and could not generate a response from inside, so she called 911. When authorities entered the home, they found Ms. Wilson on the floor where she had fallen three days earlier out of reach from a telephone or any means of uprighting herself.
At the time of the news report, Ms. Wilson was in the hospital in stable, non-critical condition. However, I shiver at the thought of what could have happened if Guy had not expanded her role from delivery driver to caregiver.
When we think about caregivers, we usually think of primary caregivers, such as spouses and adult children who carry the bulk of caregiving responsibilities. But there is another kind of caregiver who is vital to the care equation.
Secondary caregivers are people involved in the person’s care in a more ancillary way. They know the person who needs care and are in a unique position to notice when something might be wrong. They can look out for the person in their own way and step in when they sense help is needed.
Secondary caregivers might be bank tellers, mail carriers, lawn maintenance workers and yes, pizza delivery drivers. Primary caregivers should get to know these people in their loved ones’ lives, especially if the person in their care lives alone. Getting to know them serves a dual purpose. While it helps ensure that your family member is not being exploited by anyone aware of his or her condition, it also helps you form alliances with those who are trustworthy and genuinely care about your loved one’s well-being.
In the case of Ms. Wilson, her pizza delivery driver was a secondary caregiver, and she helped save her life. Which leads me to my final thought on secondary caregivers – they should be shown gratitude, liberally and often.
Next week, we’ll begin to tackle the topic of caregiver stress. In the meantime, if you happen to order pizza this weekend to accompany the March Madness festivities, think about tipping the delivery driver a little more this time, in honor of Susan Guy.