Jackie Frandsen

Jan. 4, 2021
Jackie Frandsen, rear, and Jackie Garner, front, went “full mom” on a nurse having a difficult day. Photo by Tom Hutton, UCHealth.

Cafeteria staff serve up hugs, encouragement

Patrons of Memorial Hospital Central’s cafeteria drop food every day.

But a recent cheeseburger-on-the-floor incident was different for longtime staff members Jackie Frandsen and Jackie Garner. Frandsen, a cashier, and Garner, a supervisor, supplemented protein with hugs and encouragement for a new staff member having a tough day.

“She told me she’d dropped her food and then she started to cry – really cry,” Frandsen said. “It was pretty clear there was a whole lot more happening than lunch.”

As she has hundreds of times, Frandsen replaced the spilled meal at no charge. Then, she added a coupon for a second meal. Garner, responding to the commotion, joined in, offering coupons for free coffee “because everything goes better with coffee.”

But beyond the freebies, the backbones of Memorial nutrition services went into what Garner called “full mom mode.”

The new nurse, got hugs and words of encouragement from both women, each years her senior and representing more than 50 years of service to Memorial Hospital patients, visitors and staff. The tears stopped as women who were strangers hours earlier became friends and restored Barry’s confidence. She returned to her home unit and continued her orientation sessions. A little more than year later, she’s settled in to the job and part of the family.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the kindness you showed me today,” the nurse later wrote. “You took a really rough morning for me and turned it around. Your actions will not be forgotten.”

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About the author

Tom Hutton is a veteran communications professional who enjoys making complex subjects relatable to people from all walks of life. Prior to joining UCHealth in 2019, he taught and led public communications at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Previously, he led communications at the University of Kansas and was a reporter and manager for newspapers in Kansas, Iowa and California. In these roles, he earned recognition from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the University of Colorado and various press associations.

Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from KU and a master’s degree in public administration from CU. He enjoys college sports, vintage cars, cooking Kansas City-style barbeques, skiing and hiking.

He and his wife Julie have two daughters and a son.

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