Story by: Emily Jordan on January 12, 2023
We can all imagine it — walking through a parking garage, putting keys away, making sure we have what we need for a doctor appointment. If a ring, earring or something else slipped off, we probably wouldn’t notice.
The woman arriving for her neurologist appointment was distraught. Tears running down her face, she rubbed her pinky finger. The ring she normally wore — an heirloom her mother had given her years earlier — was gone.
She had retraced her steps, looked in the ladies’ room, everywhere she could think of. She was barely composed enough to check in for her appointment.
Melody “Mel” Lukenbill, the receptionist checking her in at Norton Neuroscience Institute – St. Matthews, was taken with the woman’s emotion for something that clearly held such fond memories.
“Once I got her checked in, I thought ‘OK, I am going to find this lady’s ring one way or another,’” Mel said.Her co-worker was ready to help other patients as they came in while Mel started looking.
Could it have been lost in the hallway carpeting with its busy pattern? She looked.
In the bathroom trash buried under damp paper towels and other garbage? She emptied out the trash and sifted through it.
Maybe on the tile bathroom floor? She swept around with her stocking feet hoping it would skitter across the floor.
The parking garage was the last chance. She walked toward the parked cars with no idea which one was the patient’s. She wandered around; discouraged, she started to head back toward the doors with a simple prayer: “Lord please give me eyes to see!”
Mel’s eyes caught a sparkle on the floor. There was indeed something shiny over there.
“I went running over there, and sure enough it was this tiny little ring that I should have seen when I first came out the door, but there it was!”
When Mel returned to the office with the ring, the patient was still with neurologist Geeta A. Ganesh, M.D., MPH. Mel knocked on the door, and Dr. Ganesh opened it, a bit puzzled at the interruption.
Mel explained and held up the ring. The woman jumped from her seat, squealing, hugging Mel and crying tears of joy.
“I told her, ‘Honey, I made it mission. I was going to find that ring, and there it is,’” Mel said.The patient’s gratitude was overwhelming. Her thank-you was enough for Mel, who wanted nothing more for simply doing what she thought anyone would do given the opportunity.
It wasn’t the first time Mel had gone out of her way to help someone.
“If a patient walks in and they seem like they are needing a little extra, she gives it to them” said Stacy Raymer, practice manager and Mel’s leader. “She makes sure they know she’s paying attention and that she’s there to help them through whatever it is that they’re going through.”
Helping others is what Mel is about.
“If I can give a person a little bit of what he has given me, God can use me to change the world. He can use me to change their life, change their circumstances, their everything,” Mel said. “I can do it one person and one simple act at a time.”
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