Miracle Moments Miracle Moments In Work Life
First Day Of Work  

HE FIRST DAY OF ANY NEW JOB is usually the most uncomfortable. Most new Associates are typically anxious about that first day, and arrive at work with many questions about the duties they will be performing. As I navigated my way through the back entrance of the hospital on my first day at CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital back in 1986, I had many questions racing through my mind.

The hallways were busy that time of morning with food service carts moving to and from patient rooms. Some Associates were obviously leaving work, while others were making their way in to start the day shift. The first thing I noticed as I passed people in the hallway was that they smiled and greeted me. Since I had spent the previous eight years working in a big city, I knew that hospitality in the workplace was generally the exception, rather than the rule. The friendly atmosphere was encouraging.

PullquoteNot knowing the best way to get to the elevators in the hospital’s east building, I walked the long way around by the chapel. As I got near the chapel, I was met by a sister who was leaving an office across the hallway. My uneasiness must have been obvious because she approached me and asked my name. I told her, and explained that I was starting work in the accounting department that day. She smiled, placed a hand on my shoulder and then, to my pleasant surprise, asked if she could pray for me on my first day of work at St. Mary Hospital.

I must confess, considering the jobs I had held prior to this one, I never had a prayer offered for me on my first day of work—much less by an owner. I replied, “Of course. Thank you.” She led me into the chapel, held my hands and proceeded to ask God’s blessings for me on my first day at work. The prayer was brief, but I had no doubt that it had made its way to God’s ears. When she finished, she gave me a hug and escorted me out of the chapel. As I walked away, she grabbed my hand and said, “Oh, by the way, I don’t know if I introduced myself, but my name is Sister Placida.”

I left the chapel that morning with a smile on my face, and my anxieties diminished. What I had learned about the hospital on that brief walk to my new office was that the Associates were friendly and the sisters truly made it a unique place to work. I believe this experience was not accidental, but rather providential, and it has long served as a reminder to me of the importance that first impressions can have on the people we encounter. A smile and a warm greeting to fellow Associates, visitors, or patients can have a far greater impact than we often realize. Such was the case for me on my first day of work at CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital.

Charles Foster
assistant administrator
CHRISTUS St. Mary Hospital
Port Arthur, Texas