Gloria Porter, 88, was spending a week in the hospital having come down with pneumonia early this year. It was winter, and the snow wasn’t done with Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, as of yet in February.
But from her third-story room at the hospital, she had the iron workers completing a renovation project on the hospital exterior to keep her company. Day in and day out, she’d see them moving down below, or climbing the dangerous looking metal structures outside. At first, it was what little entertainment she had, Porter told WTAE-TV.
Ironworker Jeff Reick took notice of Porter, who would stand by the window watching them work. Wanting to brighten her day, Reick would wave to Porter, and smile as she waved back. Then he took it a step further and wrote “Get Well” on an iron beam as a message for her.
“I saw the lady at the window looking out. I thought it would be a kind gesture just to tell her to get well,” Reick said. “I didn’t think much of it. I just tried to make someone feel a little better.”
Porter was so touched by the message she wanted to write back. It was a frosty day with a bit of snow, and seeing the men so high up in the windy weather always made her a bit nervous.
So she put a big sign in the window that read “Stay Safe.”
That note meant more to Reick than Porter could have imagined.
“That sign kind of crushed me. I don’t know how she knew ‘Stay safe,’” Reick said. “It’s kind of like ironworker lingo to stay safe. When I saw ‘Stay safe,’ in the window, I kind of snapped my head around and said to my coworkers, ‘Did you see that?’”
He shared the story on Facebook, and it quickly made the rounds, inspiring others to share some goodwill as well.
Not long later, a stranger delivered an envelope to the hospital, with money enclosed intended to buy the ironworkers lunch. A note outside the envelope read: “Your random act of kindness melted my heart!! Enjoy some pizza on me!”
That day just happened to be National Random Act of Kindness day.
“I just try to lead by example and be a good person. I just hope everybody would do things like that because the world is not a very nice place,” Reick told WTAE.
Watch the interview below: