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Man Stands at Emergency Room Window Holding Sign To Thank Staff for Saving Wife's Life

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How do you thank someone who’s helped you when you were on the brink of losing everything? How do you find the words to show your gratitude when someone saves the life of the person you love most in the world?

There may be no adequate way to fully match a good deed of such value with mere words.

But one gentleman in Morristown, New Jersey, wanted to say thanks, and his story and the picture of his deep gratitude has gone viral and left more than a few people with tears in their eyes.

It’s a simple photo, but the words on the man’s sign and his posture are everything. “Thank you all in emergency for saving my wife’s life,” the sign reads. “I love you all.”

He was standing outside the emergency entrance, sign pressed against the glass so the medical staff could see, his hand over his heart and tears rolling down his cheeks. Allison Swendsen was one of the nurses there, and she had to share the image and tale on her Facebook page.

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“In triage the other day, I heard a knock on the window…” she shared on Wednesday. “This was what I saw- this man knew he couldn’t come in but wanted to show some gratitude.”

“I asked through the window if I could snap a picture and he nodded, he had tears pouring down his face- I peeked out the door and asked him how his wife was.”

“He said ‘great, she is going home today, you are all amazing’ I dont know him, I dont know his wife, but through out the last 13 years as a nurse, I realized, this is why we do it- times are tough but we make a difference. I love my team.”

Morristown Medical Center also shared Swendsen’s post.

“Extraordinary caring in unprecedented times,” the center wrote. “This is what we do. This is why we work in health care.”

No one seems to know who the man is, though many people now know a bit of his story.

“We don’t know who the man is, we don’t know who his wife is,” Senior Public Relations Manager Karen Zatorski told the Morristown Daily Record. “The nurses happened to be there and took his picture. What’s beautiful is that’s all we know.”

“It’s just been an incredible response from [the ER] team downstairs,” she added. “There has been such strength, determination and grace. I’m so glad they snapped this picture.”

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“This picture brought us all to tears,” nurse Paige Vander Vliet wrote in a message to the Daily Record. “It’s amazing to see not only the ER staff but all the floors coming together during this challenging time. We couldn’t do this without nurses, techs, residents, doctors, secretaries, registrars, housekeeping.”

The community has also come together to help get the hospital crucial supplies.

“Our community is extraordinary,” the medical center posted on Tuesday. “You’ve come together to support our Morristown heroes in ways we never thought imaginable. And you continue to ask for ways you can help. We still need donations of personal protective equipment to protect our front line care teams as they fight COVID-19 – N95 masks or similar are in great demand, along with eye protectors, other masks, gloves and gowns.”

“It’s also great to see how the community is coming together by donating masks, gloves, Crocs, etc.,” Vander Vliet added. “It’s so unbelievably heartwarming.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking