Hospital meter good Samaritan ‘blown away’ by reaction

Cory Hurley
Published on August 30, 2014
Alexandra Wicks is the good Samaritan who posted notes and quarters on the meters at Western Memorial Regional Hospital.
Star photo by Cory Hurley

What do you do when you are frustrated?

It is not like Alexandra Wicks to resort to kicking and screaming. In fact, her response to her latest frustration was to turn it into a contagious bout of joy.

The soon-to-be first-year Grenfell Campus Memorial University student had a routine appointment at Western Memorial Regional Hospital Thursday morning. She got to the parking lot and began a drive around to look for a parking space — no luck. Around and around she went.

Finally, a place opened up. It was a metered lot. She had no change. Low and behold, luck was on her side. An hour and 20 minutes remained on the meter. Her fortunes had changed, but memory of her frustration remained.

Must be others like her visiting the hospital, was her thought. Many probably for much more serious reasons. Finding a space was bad enough. Paying a meter to see a doctor, that’s frustrating.

Like everybody, she got back in her car after her appointment and headed for home. Unlike most everybody, she wanted to do something about her frustration.

She changed up some money into rolls of quarters. She remains coy about just how much, but it was easily $25 by basic reasoning. Guessing from the roll of quarters she still had in her possession Friday morning, she had prepared in case she needed more.

She also got a package of stick-it notes, and began writing messages. “Turn that dial and keep that smile” was the theme, but others were penned with the likes of “keep smiling” and “have a nice day.”

After about an hour of making about 130 notes, she spent the next couple of hours taping the notes and quarters to the meters in the hospital parking. The smiles began.

She planned to do so anonymously and was still hesitant about acknowledging the recognition early Friday morning, but she gave in when some of her friends and acquaintances began identifying her through Facebook.

“The hospital is not really a happy place to go for the most part, and parking is frustrating,” Wicks said. “So, why not try to brighten somebody’s day?”

The money came from her own generosity, but the note idea was compliments of a fellow Corner Brook Regional High student. Last year, a student decided to tape a positive message to everybody’s locker.

There were some great moments during her time in the hospital parking lot, she said. She did get to see some of the smiles when people saw what she was doing. She received some thanks on site, and even popped a few more quarters in the meter for some of the people who parked in lots she was in.

Wicks went home feeling good about what she had done. Then her good deed began making its way through social media and The Western Star ran a story on its front page Friday. She never imagined the joy her gesture would return to her.

“I am just blown away,” she said Friday, just before heading for a job interview. “I don’t even know what to say, I am amazed it got so much attention.”

Well, there is a thing called good will. Is there a thing called karma? If so, that job interview should have gone well.