Featurette Friday: Shirley Franks

Featurette Friday is the name. Kindness is the game.

Every other Friday I interview a person with the majority of questions focusing on kindness.

But why Jenn?

Because we see negativity every day and I think it is important to focus on the positive and remind ourselves that there are wonderful people in this world. No matter a persons background, status, or creed I believe they have been shown kindness in their life and have shown others kindness as well.

And I would like to tell that story.

I met Shirley approximately a year and a half ago when I started working Wednesdays at the campus I am currently at now. The first thing she said to me was 'Good Morning and who are you?' I introduced myself and told her where I would be working and explained I would only be here on Wednesdays.

She was the nicest person to me.

It always feels awkward being the new person somewhere. You don't quite know anyone and don't know the rules. Shirley eased that feeling for me. Every 'Good morning Jennifer' and 'How are you' helped me felt like I belonged. Every time I go to the lobby, I watch Shirley at her desk. She welcomes any person that comes through the doors. She helps anyone she can whether it is giving them directions, grabbing them a wheelchair or just listening to their day. When Shirley is not here it makes a world of difference. When the desk is empty everyone notices. The physicians, the receptionists, all the techs, regular patients, our couriers. She has worked her way into everyones heart. I am not sure if Shirley even knows the impact she has. She is not just a volunteer, she is one volunteer that can make the whole bustling building feel empty when she is not here.

Name: Shirley Franks

Age: 89, she will be 90 in October of 2014.

Favorite quote or personal motto: "'For I know the plans I have for you and they are good'" declares the Lord, 'they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'".

Best act of kindness you have personally received: I have been blessed with so many. The nicest thing that has ever happened to me is my family. Especially my husband of 59 years.

Last act of kindness you have done:
Praying for a man. Does that count?

Me: I certainly think it does.

A gentleman came in here for with a friend who had an appointment. He was down and explained he was going through some scary medical problems at the moment. I asked if I could pray for him and he said yes. His friend got done with their appointment and was rushing him away. I wanted to hug him but didn't. So I did what I could and hugged him with my heart.

Greatest story of kindness you have heard: The story of forgivness and salvation that Jesus Christ has given to us. Its beautiful because its for anyone and everyone who wants to listen. My parents orginally told me the story, they lived the example.

Biggest accomplishment in life:
Being able to love and guide my family. I am lucky to have 23 grandchildren and currently have 22 great grandchildren. I had a wonderful thing happen the other day. A lady came up to me and asked if I was Randalls grandmother and I told her yes. I had never met the woman before and asked how she knew my grandson. She said that Randall is her physician and he talks about me. He is such a quiet man, its amazing to think he talks about me, especially to his patients.

Any regrets: Yes. My husband always wanted to take me Alaska. I never went. Everyone in the family knows thats my biggest regret, not taking Papa to Alaska.

Why do you volunteer and how long: I have been volunteering for 6 and a half years. I think its act of a God. I have never had to work for money in my life. I only worked for four monthsa nd that was so I could buy my wedding dress, and at that time it cost twenty five dollars. I didn't expect this to be what it is. God has me here for a reason. I keep on keeping on because I am blessed.

Is kindness important to you? If so, why: Yes, my goodness yes. Kindness comes from the heart. Love. It is an extension of love, without love there cannot be kindness and without kindness there cannot be love.

What is the bravest thing you have ever done: Taking my 9 month old daughter to Chicago for open heart surgery. It was a life changing expierence.

Was the surgery a success: Yes. It went perfectly. She is perfect.

What advice would you give to people who are going through a rough time: It is an opportunity to increase their faith and realize what a friend Jesus can truly be.

When I interviewed Shirley she was eating lunch. I came back down to take her picture an hour or so afterwards. Before I took a picture she asked me if I knew who the gentleman was sitting in the lobby. I told her I did not. She shared he was a pastor and he just informed her that he had used one of their conversations as the basis of his sermon. I inquired what the conversation was about and she told me. I know traditionally I only post the interview of Featurette Friday person but I felt that this needed to be shared. It's a beautiful reminder in a world where we rush through every day just to get to the next. We get one life, we should enjoy every day while we can.

"I was looking out the window at the huge snow pile. When the pastor was here a few days ago I told him that I was clinging on to that huge snow pile outside my window. At my age I know I will not see too many more winters so I better take time to cherish the seasons I still get to see. I am going to hold on to that snow pile and enjoy it as much as I can".


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