During the lockdown, a lot of people have had to deal with loneliness as they weren’t able to see their family and friends due to stringent social distancing measures. However, at this time, a 24-year-old hairdresser and a 94-year-old veteran developed an unlikely friendship that has now blossomed into a special bond.
Tayla Wright, from Duston, Northantam, wanted to do something valuable after she was furloughed from her job as a hairdresser at Minx Hair Salon in Far Cotton due to the pandemic. Thus the youngster decided to volunteer at Northampton General Hospital.
“I saw the NHS needed help and I’ve only ever done hairdressing so I thought it would be good to get a different perspective,” she told Caters News Agency.
However, at that time, Tayla was completely unaware of the change it would make in her life.
Tayla decided to volunteer at the elderly wards unit because she found it interesting to talk to older people. However, among all the people she spoke to on the job, she “clicked” straight away with Ken Smith, who was at the hospital at the beginning of the lockdown following a fall, according to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
The elderly man, who was at the hospital for four weeks, came across many volunteers who opted to help with making drinks and assisting patients by providing companionship as their near and dear ones were restricted from visiting. Ken struggled to keep in touch with his family even though he had a mobile phone as he didn’t know how to use it.
However, after meeting Tayla, Ken immediately bonded with her. “We were on the same wavelength,” Ken recalled, according to Caters News Agency.
The duo chatted quite a bit, and Ken had a lot to share with Tayla. “Ken had so many unique stories to tell that people of my age wouldn’t be able to,” Tayla said. “We talk about everything—our lives, families, jobs and I love listening to him and finding out about how things worked in his day.”
Seeing Tayla, the nonagenarian, who had worked for the Royal Air Force for four years, would get excited to meet her, as she kept him entertained.
Ken’s family thanked Tayla for taking the time to go visit Ken as they weren’t able to see him due to restrictions.
“We were so grateful to her—it was a lifeline for us in terms of his mental wellbeing,” Ken’s daughter, Kay Roberts, said. “She kept his spirits up and spent an awful lot of time with him.”
Tayla shared that Kay told her that she knew the days her father had met the youngster, as he seemed a lot “perkier and brighter.” But that wasn’t all; Tayla would also report back to the family, as they weren’t aware of what was happening due to isolation.
When Ken, who had worked as an accountant before retiring, came out of the hospital, “he was quite emotional.”
“I think Tayla reminds him of a granddaughter who is in Australia,” Kay told Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
Although Ken is now back home and Tayla has returned to work, the duo is still in touch with each other. Kay said: “Dad thought that was it and he wouldn’t see her again, but then she texted me and asked if she could speak to him.”
The pair speak a lot on the phone, and Tayla even pops up for coffee once in a while. “I like to check he is okay and I tell him about my weekend antics,” Tayla shared.
Most importantly, Tayla is pleased to know that she helped someone “recover” and that for her was a “really lovely feeling.”
She now urges others to visit someone who needs a bit of company. “What I’m doing with Ken doesn’t take up much of my time but I think it’s so important—giving up half an hour of your day,” she said.
The grandfather is also happy to have befriended Tayla.
“To have a young person pleased to help old people is amazing. I still have a few of my marbles and I’m not doing bad for my age,” Ken told Caters Agency.
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