Security Caregiver comforts Patients with favorite foods

Published: May 18, 2016

Milk and cookies are not exactly the area of expertise of Alyssa Gruber, an Administrative Assistant in Sparrow’s Security Department, but Gruber recently exhibited her compassionate care by tracking down the comfort food for two Patients.

Gruber took it upon herself to aid a distraught visitor by finding the milk and cookies she needed for her parents, both Patients at Sparrow.

“It was no big deal,” said Gruber, a Sparrow Caregiver for 17 years. “It was the kind of thing we at Sparrow do every day. It’s second nature.”

But Patient Relations Manager Susan Wisser said Gruber’s actions “personify the ultimate goal that Sparrow charges every Caregiver with every day - Patients first. No Exceptions.”

It all started one afternoon in the cafeteria at Sparrow Hospital when Gruber came upon a woman who seemed, in Gruber’s words, “distraught and confused.”

After asking if she could help, Gruber learned that the woman’s mother and father were both Patients at Sparrow, on two different floors. The daughter was on a mission to find cold milk for her father and peanut butter cookies for her mother. The milk her father got with his meals wasn’t cold enough for him and the no-bake cookies her mother received were generally chocolate.

Although the woman didn’t ask for Gruber’s intervention, Gruber took it upon herself to see if she could get the two Patients what they wanted. She emailed Wisser and Executive Chef Laura Fellows.

“I just listened and saw how overwhelmed (the daughter) was, juggling her parents on different floors. If we can bring someone an extra smile, I think it would be lovely.”

The Sparrow team members instantly went to work. A few days later Gruber followed up and learned that the cold milk and peanut butter cookies were indeed delivered to the two Patients.

“The daughter was extremely grateful,” Gruber said.

Wisser praised Gruber not only for initiating the act of kindness, but also for reaching out to teammates such as Fellows and Food and Nutrition Services Manager Patrick Kennedy.

“Collectively they created an individualized solution to accommodate the special preferences of this family,” Wisser said.