People who care“We see you, we hear you, we acknowledge you, we admire you.”

As heard on The Ryan Tubridy Show

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Today’s Ryan Tubridy Show was all about people who care:  from the loving community in Crumlin Childrens’ Hospital to the separated Dad of two thanking the VdeP for making Christmas easier this year. The famous Dad of two kicked off his show talking about how much fun he had on his (slightly surreal) virtual hospital visit.

Because Ryan wasn’t able to visit Crumlin Childrens’ Hospital in person this year, he relied on the kindness of the technical elves at WebX Cisco to make remote ward rounds possible. Not just any old Zoom call for our Tubs, though. Ryan’s disembodied head was wheeled around on a screen atop a hospital trolley and he was able to chat via laptop with the parents and kids who find themselves in hospital at this time of year. Ryan describes the set-up:

“Like Salomé meets the emergency unit, we’ll wheel your head around – it was really quite something.”

‘Bring me the head of Ryan Tubridy!’ they shouted. Well, not quite. But the head was in big demand and unlike the fella in the Salomé story, it’s still attached to Ryan’s shoulders. The whole thing took a bit of getting used to, Ryan says:

“We all acclimatised to it eventually. But all I heard was the voices around the trolley, going: ‘Wheel him over here. No, no, wheel him over there!’ Is this my future?”

Ryan marvelled at the high spirits of the kids and parents he met, some of whom are spending long periods of time away from home and other family members. He says it’s down to the hard work of the folks to do this 24/7:

“Here’s the because. This is the takeaway from it. Because, they said ‘The staff make it so easy to be here.’ Long before Covid, there were staff making it easy for children all around the country and their parents.”

It’s safe to say Ryan spoke for the nation when he gave a big shout out to care workers everywhere, via that Zoom-with-no-pictures thing we call radio:

We see you, we hear you, we acknowledge you, we admire you, we appreciate you. Please when you’re driving to work thinking, ‘Nobody loves me’’.  We do. And please when you think ‘Nobody appreciates what I do.’ We really do.

Ryan was just as impressed with the parents and kids he ‘met’ via laptop yesterday and the emotion in the room was undiminished by distance, he says:

“And the love! The love came through my laptop – boom! Just beaming through. I could feel it. And I was on my own in a room looking at this, going, this, these people are extraordinary.”

Whoever was controlling the Tubridy trolley left it standing around every now and again, and it gave Ryan time to observe the interactions between parents and their kids. Ryan recalls one Dad and his son in particular:

“For whatever reason, I was left on my weird trolley, looking at them, and they turned around, and it was just the back of the little boy’s head, with his pyjamas and the dad’s arm over his shoulder, leading him back into the room that they’ll spend a lot more time in. And I just thought, that is pure love, pure love. Not one of them whinged or moaned or gave out. It was humbling in the extreme.”

Ryan also read a couple of emails from a separated father of two, whose hospitality job came to a temporary halt due to Covid. The anonymous listener had been in touch in November, when things were really tough for him, but he didn’t want his email read out. The Tubridy Show contacted him, and the Dad got in touch with St Vincent DePaul. Things started looking up, and to find out how the story ends, you can listen back to the segment in full here.

Click here if you’d like to make a donation to the Society of St. Vincent De Paul this Christmas.

Ruth Kennedy

© The Listener 2020

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