The Medicine of Chivalry

This story happened to me not more than twenty minutes ago in my doctor’s office. I was standing in line to pick up my prescription when I heard the nurse at the desk tell the young woman ahead of me in line, “There’s a ten dollar co-pay for your medicine.”

The woman said, “I have nothing, I have no money, and I can’t pay you.”

But the nurse insisted, “I can’t give you your medicine until you’ve paid.”

The woman began to cry. She obviously had no money and didn’t know what to do.

The situation nearly broke my heart. I didn’t even think twice before starting to root through my purse. I was going to give the poor woman the twenty-dollar bill I had just taken of my account that morning, because she clearly needed it more than I did. Before I could, however, the nurse told her, “Wait here, I’ll go ask my boss what we can do.”

A minute later the nurse returned with a hand-written IOU note, and she told the woman she could pay on her next visit. I have to say, I was relieved, because even though I could have given her my lunch money, seeing the nurse’s willingness to help made me feel really good. She took a chance on that lady never coming back to pay her, and I applaud her for that choice. She could have just turned her away and told her to come back with the money if she wanted her medicine.

Chivalry isn’t dead, it just happens behind closed doors in small ways that no one ever hears about.

Becky Pronia, Missouri

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