At midnight on Halloween, as Woody Thompson navigated the wheelchair out of the hospital toward the family car, his son, Robbie, looked up from his seat to ask a question: “Can I go trick-or-treating now?”
“It about broke my heart,” said Woody, RS&H’s commissioning and energy region leader in Texas.
Nine-year-old Robbie had spent the whole month looking forward to Halloween, when he would put on his Dash (from The Incredibles) costume and go trick-or-treating. In anticipation of Halloween night, Woody bought a Mr. Incredible costume, so he and Robbie could trick-or-treat together as the father-son superheroes.
But instead of celebrating Halloween, Robbie and his parents spent their evening in the hospital, trying to figure out the cause of a series of seizures Robbie had experienced that day.
“He was really upset he missed trick-or-treating,” said Woody. “He had been so excited for so long about it.”
But thanks to an “unsolicited act of love and concern by the RS&H San Antonio office,” as Woody calls it, Robbie would get to trick-or-treat before the week was over.
Board Game, Interrupted
Every day at lunch, a group of associates in the San Antonio office get together to play out-of-the-box board games. In the middle of one of those games on October 31, Woody got a call from the school nurse. She suspected that Robbie had experienced a seizure at school.
As an infant, Robbie spent time in the NICU, where a dose of morphine caused his first seizure. It had been controlled with medication up until this incident.
After Woody and his wife, Nellie, picked Robbie up from school, he had six more seizures, three at the pediatrician’s office and three at the hospital. Late Wednesday night, after doctors gave their okay, Robbie and his parents left the hospital, long after the last trick-or-treaters had gone home.
When Woody told his colleagues he wouldn’t be in the office Thursday, he mentioned that Robbie was upset about missing Halloween. Behind the scenes, the San Antonio office began scheming.
Thursday evening, Woody got a text from a colleague asking if Robbie would want to trick-or-treat at the office. Woody loved the idea and set up the office trick-or-treating for Friday afternoon.
Friday morning, Woody walked in to find the Halloween decorations back up, in preparation for Robbie’s visit later that day. A few people brought in masks, and everyone had candy ready for Robbie’s trick-or-treating.
That afternoon, Robbie and Woody finally got to trick-or-treat together in their matching costumes.
“Seizures drain you,” said Woody. “For two days, Robbie had absolutely no energy, but he had energy then.”
Robbie will need more tests in the coming days to determine the cause of the seizures, and some tough decisions lie ahead for Woody and his family.
But that moment of fun meant the world to Robbie.
“He didn’t care that it wasn’t Halloween. All he knew was that he wasn’t going to be able to wear his costume and now he was able to,” said Woody. “The kid got more candy than he knows what to do with.”
Company Culture of Empathy
Woody says over his years at RS&H he has seen time and again the care associates have for each other.
“I will have been with RS&H for 10 years on November 18,” said Woody. “If somebody is down, there’s always someone to pick them up.”
This time, colleagues cared for Woody and his family. Next time, Woody says, he may help lift up someone else.
“At RS&H, we celebrate the victories, and we’re there for people when they need help,” said Woody. “You aren’t just a number here. You’re a part of a community at our company.”
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