The mechanics of kindness: going out of his way to fix a coworker’s car
By Tori Flarity, for UCHealth
During the coldest evening of the winter, Aaron Westbrook, an associate nurse manager for freestanding emergency departments in southern Colorado, learned a coworker was having problems with his vehicle. The car was unsafe to drive, and the employee was having trouble getting to work.
At a time when emergency departments were busier than ever, stress levels were high. The influx of patients during the spike in COVID-19 cases left health care workers feeling exhausted. Westbrook recognized that his coworker’s car trouble, on top of all the stress from the job, was something he could help with.
“I knew the coworker personally, and he is a really hard worker and always going nonstop when I am on shift with him. He was working a lot during this high stress time and things were piling up,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook knew he had the tools and mechanical knowledge to solve his co-worker’s car troubles relatively easily, so he made arrangements to lift this burden off of his coworker’s shoulders. Those plans, though, didn’t go as well as expected.
The plan was to rent a trailer to transport the vehicle from the coworker’s house to Westbrook’s house. The arrangement fell through when the trailer company closed up shop earlier than anticipated, so it was on to Plan B.
Westbrook gathered his tools and went to his coworker’s house with another trailer he had found. He took the vehicle to his own home and began working to fix it. Westbrook’s friend stepped in to help, the two worked well into the night and returned the car to the employee at 10:50 p.m. — 10 minutes before the employee’s shift ended.
Even though it was a “crazy, cold, and slightly miserable day,” Westbrook said, the relief of having a working vehicle for his coworker was worth the extra hours he spent fixing the car.
Westbrook jumped in to help his coworker at a time when many health care facilities were experiencing a tremendous influx of patients. Westbrook began working as the interim manager during this time, and he makes it a priority to look out for the well-being of his team.
“Team members rely on each other when things go down, and you have to trust one another,” he said.
Westbrook said that he learned to look out for others at a young age. “If you can help somebody you should,” he said.
Fixing the vehicle turned out to be great for the employee, but also therapeutic for Westbrook.
“It was an outlet for me, I could get out of my head about work and help someone I care about,” Westbrook said.
Helping each other, he said, comes easily to the staff.
“If I could highlight all of the staff, I would. Everyone is incredibly helpful and works together to bring each other’s spirits up,’’ he said.