The Smallest Acts of Kindness

March 22, 2023 | (39) Comments

Working in healthcare is not only a calling, it’s an identity and is very much a part of who we are. Taking care of patients and families who trust and rely on you is a responsibility that none of us will ever take lightly, no matter what we may be facing ourselves. It takes dedication, compassion and oftentimes, the smallest acts of kindness, to continuously serve others the way we do each and every day.

All of you inspire me through every season and today, I want to share a story of when I witnessed selfless dedication from one of our healthcare providers in the middle of a storm.

A few short years after I began my career with Texas Children’s, the City of Houston was facing terrible flooding from a storm that was passing through. Much of our staff was having trouble getting to the hospital, but despite the rain, many were determined to make it in and get to their patients. One staff member in particular, Franceda Hawkins, had exhausted her attempts to make it here safely. She expressed concern for her patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and shared that as soon as the roads were clear, she would make her way to them.

Her longing to serve her patients inspired me to make a move. I thought to myself — if this devoted nurse is desperately trying to come in and care for her patients while our city is battling a storm — as her leader, I can try my hardest to make sure she is safe in doing so.

I told Franceda to get ready, I got in my 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and headed for her house. When I arrived, she repeatedly thanked me for coming to help her, but giving her a ride was such a small thing compared to Franceda’s determination to get to her patients that day. I could clearly see the dedication and passion in her eyes back then as we headed to the hospital and I can still see it now.

Franceda has been with Texas Children’s for 33 years, just like me, and is still going strong. A few months ago, I got to reconnect with her and since I still own it, I brought out my 1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that kept us safe from the floodwaters many years ago.

While storms may bring destruction, they also have a way of bringing out the very best in people. If it weren’t for that particular storm, Franceda and I wouldn’t have this remarkable story to share.

Texas Children’s is filled with stories just like this one and I would love to hear yours! Please take a moment to share your favorite story or memory from Texas Children’s in the comments below.

I cannot thank Franceda — and all of you — enough for everything you do for Texas Children’s and the patients we serve. This is a very special place, filled with the greatest people, stories and lessons. Franceda has taught us all that when you’re dedicated, kind and serve with heart, you can create a beautiful legacy in any storm and through the smallest acts of kindness.

39 Responses to “The Smallest Acts of Kindness”

    • Lorie Rodriguez, RN

      What an amazing and inspirational story! I agree, it’s through the storms in life that we may meet the greatest people. I’ve had many blessings come through and after a storm. Harvey and the latest freeze made me realize what great neighbors I have. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have gotten to know some of them. To this day, we are still eager to lend each other a helping hand. Thank you so much for sharing and always spreading positivity around TCH.

  1. I remember you sharing this story with me. This encompasses everything that you are and what this institution stands for. You’re the real deal….that I know! As said by someone earlier…..keep being great!

  2. Great story! I have not been at Texas Children’s very long, but my career in healthcare is approx. 40 years and there have been amazing stories such as you both have shared. We live in such frightening times, that seems signs of kindness and love is hard to find, these days.
    I hope that stories like yours become a monthly trend, to remind us all that even if our lives are filled with challenges there is someone else, suffering and in pain an as healthcare providers or even just as human beings, that we keep the hope alive and give back in simple acts of kindness, compassion and more importantly LOVE! God Bless you both and all of Texas Children’s employees!

  3. April Riggs

    This is an amazing demonstration of when you are called to lead, you are called to serve. I love it. Congratulations, and thank you both for your years of service. #allthefeels

  4. Maioyshi (may-o-she) Ngassa

    Mark , Thank you for always being excellent leader and always going beyond the call of duty. Franceda, Thank you dedication to people and kindness. Love this story .

  5. Frank Stowell

    What a wonderful story about commitment and dedication! Working at Texas Children’s Hospital is an incredible blessing. I am not a frontline caregiver but I have witnessed some incredible situations that I frequently share with our friends who invest in our mission and anyone else who will listen. One day back in 2004 as I was waiting for an elevator in Wallace Tower, I saw a parent who was pale and had a dazed look on his face. He must have just learned some very difficult news about his child. The child was his son who looked to be around 7 years old. The boy looked up and said, “It’s going to be okay Dad.” The young, innocent child was trying to comfort his father. “What am I seeing?”, I thought to myself. The roles were reversed. It was at that moment I learned how strong children could be when facing serious health issues. Another memorable situation occurred when I was giving a tour to a newly hired colleague. We stopped by the playroom on the Hematology/Oncology floor of the West Tower. A very young cancer patient named Blaine (about 5 years old) was playing with a member of the Child Life team and asked me if I would play. Blaine and I drew and played with Mr. Potato Head. As I prepared to leave, Blaine asked, “Will you pray for me?” Trying not to cry, I said, “Yes, Blaine. I will absolutely pray for you.” As I walked out the door, Blaine said, “Bye bye. I love you!” Sadly, Blaine passed away a few months later. This was 16 years ago and I continue to carry Blaine and all the other children who pass through our doors with me for daily inspiration. God bless every member of this One Incredible Team and every family whose lives are touched by your efforts. I am so proud to be associated with each of you. We still have so much work to do.

    • Codi Adams

      This story definitely hits home. I am thankful to be a part of the Hematology/Oncology team here. Just today a past patient walked in and I was escatic to see their growth. That is the joyous part of the job. I also carry a few “Blaine’s” with me.

  6. Patricia Brown

    I work with “Fran”, as I call her , currently and she is truly a warm hearted and caring person! Love this story!!! as it truly represents who she is-hands down!!!

  7. Wow that is indeed a great story thank-you both for sharing. Great picture!

    Several years ago Houston experienced an Ice Storm, several of our staff reported to work along with Maria Melgar. However after their shift they were unable to get back home — no bus service. When Maria heard about it, even though it was out of her way she volunteered to give them a ride home. About a month ago we recognized Maria for her outstanding work performance, during the recognition we retold this story. Maria said, “that was several years ago I can’t believe you still remember that”. Yes, Maria we will always remember this selfless act of kindness during that chilly ice storm.

  8. Yvette Bey-Beyah

    I’m blessed to have such a wonderful cousin.
    When you are blessed with a gift to care for others God will descend his Angels
    with a bountiful of blessings upon you.

    Great work cuz.

    Love ya Yvette Bey-Beyah

  9. Barbara Williams

    This story is a perfect example of how God wants us to love one another! Out of all the Commandments, LOVE one another is the GREATEST OF ALL!!!! May God Bless you both!!!

  10. Ann Engelhorn

    Fran has been on my team for 5 years now and I could not be prouder of her dedication, work ethic and caring manner. What a wonderful story and a great demonstration of teamwork that puts Texas Children’s at the forefront of patient care. Thank you both!

  11. Sindy Mejia

    This is such a heartwarming story!! Great job Franceda! This is just one of the many reasons I love working here, my 20 years of service have been incredibly rewarding. I am so honored to have such an amazing CEO Mr. Wallace, you are always so kind and down to earth when we have interacted, especially our selfies. I truly thank God for such an amazing job. Thank you!

  12. Jeanette McMullen

    When you are ready to release that Wagoneer, I have a teen boy that would love to work on it alongside his 1993 pickup truck 🙂 They just don’t make them like they used to.

    I do a lot of volunteer work in my off time and see many things walking into some of these homes. Many just need a shoulder to listen, hands to help in small things, and a kind heart. Little acts of kindness on and off the job go a long way in this world. Dedication and compassion for others – the hands and feet of service.

  13. Jewel Greer

    This is such an amazing story ! I thank God for you and Franceda , and also for the rest of the TCH caring and loving team . You are truly a Godly man and a Great leader.

  14. Angela Banks

    I love the story of Franceda and Mark, this is another act of kindness and selflessness that reminds me that I am where I am suppose to be at this time in my life. Serving other is a gift of unconditional love.

    I can remembering doing Harvey, I was not able to get to get to my job at the time due to flooding. I was on social media keeping up with what was going on in neighboring areas of Houston. I came across several humanitarians that was trying to get supplies to people in need. Though I was not able to get to work, I was able to moving around my community. I would see what people needed and let the person know I was able to get to the person and bring what was need. I would go to the grocery store that was open and purchase the items such as diapers for babies, formula, water, bread and other perishable item and bring to the person in need.

    Moving to 2023 as an employee of Texas Children’s Hospital I come in daily with the mindset how I am I going to make a difference today.
    Just this Monday I posted on my unit motivational board (what I like to call it) a song anyone can sing to help them through the day.
    Sing- Today gonna be a good day, gonna be a good day, today gonna be a good day because you are apart of it.

    I had a mom and dad approach the desk and after greeting them and having small take, I said to them lets sign the song of the day. They look with a puzzle smile on their face as to say what song. I begin singing the song and they both with the biggest smile said thank you, thank you so much. Later that day their baby was discharged and I ask them did you have a good day? Mom replies “yes, thank you.” Dad quietly walked over to the desk I was sitting at, leaned in and ask my name and said “thank you, thank you so much, your energy this morning got us through the day.

    This is why I enjoy the work that I do. To be the difference our patients, family members and friends of our patients and my co-workers need in the moment they need it.

    I am my brothers keeper.
    “Great acts are made up of small deeds” ~Lao Tzu~

  15. Kaitlyn Chana

    Mr. Wallace,
    Your kindness in helping Franceda get to work to care for others reminds us that kindness, or doing good, often means putting other people’s needs before our own. Your random act was probably paid forward by Franceda, who was attentive, warm, and supportive to our patients and families when she arrived to work to help navigate their care. That act of kindness is a moment neither of you has forgotten.

    Your note reminds me that kindness could be by giving up your seat for someone who might need it more or offering to open a door for someone at work. When I first joined the organization nearly eight months ago, I saw this kindness in a leader when observing the emergency center. Amanda Johnson has a unique gift; no matter the scenario, she can handle each situation with kindness, empathy, and remarkable listening skills. I learned much from her as an observer by watching how she cared for team members, patients, and their families. She led with heart; that positive energy helped create an aura of soothing collaboration during some intense moments. The way she spoke to others and offered genuine gestures brought on a positive emotional contagion effect. Acts of kindness can make the world a happier place for everyone.

  16. Asha Thomas

    Mr. Wallace,
    What a beautiful story !!!!you have always inspired others and this story is one of many kind acts that you might have done in people’s life. we are fortunate to work with leader who is kind and God fearing.
    Thank you !!!

  17. Jennifer Smart

    I love this story and so cool you still have the Jeep!

    This past December while setting up for KRBE to broadcast live from the PFW 3rd floor to raise money for the hospital, I saw a women in tears looking frantically around with three children in tow. I approached her and asked if she needed assistance. She said she drove from far away for her children to get the COVID vaccine, but that she was late due to traffic and didn’t know where to go. She was concerned she missed the appointment after driving so far. I told her to take a deep breath and that I would accompany her to where they needed to go. Once at MAW Tower, I double checked with the staff that the kids where there in time for vaccinations. They were and I let the mom know.

    I don’t work in patient care and I office in the Meyer Bldg., so I don’t often get an opportunity to help the patient families as I did that day. It felt good to assist someone and help make this family’s experience at TCH a good one.

  18. Aquanetta Hicks

    What a wonderful story! I’ve not been at Texas Children’s very long but the story exemplifies why so many people come and stay. I’m so glad I’m part of such an amazing team!

  19. Wanda Rainey

    This is surely a heart felt loving story. I too know Fran, she is truly the same person away from work and in the community. Her caring attitude, her loving kindness and sharing is definitely great for anyone who come in contact with her. Keep up the good work Mark and Fran for recognizing the need of others.

  20. Thomesa Wilson

    What an amazing story! I so grateful to work with colleagues in my department who have demonstrated the same level of unwavering commitment to our patients and families. This truly is a special place!

  21. Alene Whitesides, RN, CPN

    Mr. Wallace and Fran your dedication to our patient’s and healthcare team shows! While storms, wind, rising water and disaster may be swirling around TCH staff are there to make sure TCH patient’s needs are being met keeping the healthcare team intact providing patient safety! TCH staff leave the comfort of their homes, families and fur babies to make sure our patients needs are being met! What a great sacrifice for the common good!

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