We wheeled her husband to the ambulance, even though he wasn't all that ill, but he definitely needed to be in hospital. We made sure he had everything he needed, and even some things that he probably didn't, but would make him feel more at ease. A dressing gown, a pair of slippers, his favourite walking stick and his green-framed reading glasses.
"Can I get you all a drink?" asked his wife.
"No thanks. We'll get a coffee at the hospital."
"Are you sure? It's really no trouble. You've been so kind!"
"Sure. You don't need to trouble yourself."
She looked almost disappointed at our refusal, so we softened the blow by explaining that the quicker we get her husband up there, the more chance we had of beating the drunken rush of a Saturday night. At the age of eighty-several, they both looked after each other, rarely asking for help from anyone else. As we wheeled him into the ambulance, she wanted to check that he was comfortable.
"Can I just make sure that he's OK in there?"
"Of course you can."
The ambulance was about fifty metres away, and she gladly accepted a helping hand, holding my arm by the elbow to steady her gait. She looked in, checked on her husband, dismissed his assurances that everything was as it should be, and made sure to remind us to look after him. Still holding on to my arm, we walked back to the house, and made sure that she was safely behind the glass doors.
"Thank you. You've been most kind to us."
"A pleasure. We'll take good care of him, just make sure that you take good care of yourself."
"Don't worry about me. I'm fine."
I turned and headed back to the ambulance, and took a final look back to their front door. She was still standing there, keeping a close eye on proceedings. Just before I stepped out of sight, I waved.
She waved in return, made sure to lock her door, wiped a tear, and then blew us all a kiss.
Sometimes it's not about the latest kit, the newest ambulance or the fastest treatment.
Sometimes it's just about being a human being.