For a patient about to undergo surgery, being wheeled to the operating room can surely be a nerve-wracking experience. But in a Boston hospital, one particular hospital worker is offering his singing services to sooth their worries.
Lindon Beckford, a transport worker at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, doesn’t just wheel patients to and fro throughout the hospital—he also moves wheelchairs, transports blood and urine samples to the lab, fetches broken equipment … and he sings songs to keep nervous patients calm.
Beckford, a native of Jamaica, who now lives in a Boston neighborhood with his wife and two children, has been doing this work for 31 years. “From the moment when I meet up with a patient,” he jokes, “I try to make sure it’s going to be unusual.”
And, while wheeling patients down the hallways, he began singing. According to Stat News, he first started singing to calm himself because he has anxiety and panic attacks—a condition that stopped him from performing live in nightclubs.
Beckford’s singing soon attracted attention, however, and his “performances” were even featured in the hospital’s employee orientation video.
But sometimes, anxiety and panic attacks would hit after patients agreed to hear a song from him, and then he would forget his lyrics.
He described how the attacks would “drive you crazy. You’re nervous … you start a song, but you start it in the wrong key,” and he would be unable to finish the song. “Anxiety can put you in a bad spot.
“Your mind goes haywire, and you have to calm the mind, so [the music] comes to you,” he added.
When he introduced himself to 58-year-old Barbara Tipon, who awaited him to take her back to her room in a stretcher, one such attack occurred.
“Hi, I’m Lindon. I’m going to be your chauffeur. If you want to stop on the way for a piña colada, you let me know,” he greeted her—like how he greets all patients.
Tipon asked for an Elvis song when Beckford offered to sing, and his mind went blank.
“You’re going to feel a little bump on the cobblestone, OK?” he said while still searching for a song.
Finally, when they were near the elevator, he said, “I can’t remember any song. Give me a song, will you?”
Then he recalled a Kenny Rogers song and started singing.
Afterward, Tipon was grateful to Beckford for his “beautiful” singing. “Thank you for my ride. You make me feel healthy again,” she told him.
Another patient, positioned next to Tipon’s bed, named Vera Vicentini, who was suffering from a brain tumor, remembered Beckford as the man who sang to her while wheeling her to get an MRI. She had asked him to sing another song for her, and he did.
“He’s not just a man that transports us. He makes us happy. He makes our day bright,” Vicentini said.
“A doctor has his part to play, a nurse has her part … I’ve got my part to play,” Beckford explains.
Watch the video below:
Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot | STAT.