30 People With Emotionally Draining Jobs Share Stories Of Their Best Days At Work
People who work in emotionally draining careers are sharing about their best days on the job, and I'll warn you right now: you might want to have some tissues on hand! The post 30 People With Emotionally Draining Jobs Share Stories Of Their Best Days At Work first appeared on Bored Panda.
One curious Reddit user posed the question, “People with emotionally difficult jobs (police, EMS, firefighters, doctors, nurses, therapists, etc.), what was your BEST day on the job?” And hundreds of heroes responded with heartwarming moments from their careers. We’ve gathered some of the most impactful stories down below, but I’ll warn you right now, you might want to grab a box of tissues! Keep reading to also find an interview with firefighter, paramedic and the man behind The Happy Medic blog, Justin Schorr.
Be sure to upvote the replies that touch you, and let us know in the comments below if you have any similar stories to share from your own career. Then if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda article featuring heartwarming moments that will brighten your day, we recommend checking out this list next.
Image credits: WinterPush Many children grow up dreaming about being firefighters, doctors, lawyers or teachers, but in reality, these career paths are no walk in the park. They can often be high-stress jobs, and they can take a huge toll on the emotional state of the professionals who enter these fields. When every day at work you have to help out someone who is having the worst day of their life, it can be hard to step away from that emotional state when the day ends. But occasionally, these individuals get lucky. Once in a blue moon, or perhaps only once in their entire career, these heroes get to have a day that stands out as being extremely positive or impactful. The stories on this list may still sound overwhelming and stressful to those of us who don’t work in life-saving situations, but it really puts things into perspective to know that they were the best days for these professionals. Unfortunately, we will all at one point or another be in a situation where we require help from the people in these fields, so let’s take a moment to appreciate them and honor their stories. Image credits: AJClarkson Image credits: Cleaborg To gain some insight into what it's really like to work in one of these high-stress professions, we reached out to Justin Schorr. Justin is a second generation firefighter and paramedic with 28 years experience serving various urban, suburban and urban neighborhoods. He is ARFF certified and currently serves as a Paramedic Captain with a San Francisco Bay Area Fire Department. First, we wanted to know what inspired Justin to get into this field in the first place. "My father was a firefighter so I naturally gravitated towards this line of work," he told Bored Panda. "However, as an EMT in rural New Mexico, I had a patient I couldn't help because I didn't have the right training so I applied to Paramedic School." "The average day starts with a rigorous check of our equipment and supplies," Justin explained. "Then a briefing from the Captain about local events, road closures, hospital issues, etc. Then it's off to our post based on the needs of the system. Dispatch will move us and the other ambulances around to try to reduce response times. We'll respond to calls for service, meeting some people on their worst day and try to make that bad day better. 12 hours later, if we're lucky, we can go home." Image credits: anon We also asked Justin if one particular day stands out to him as the best one in his career. "There are several good days, and luckily they outnumber the bad ones," he shared. "I recall one particular day I was working at the international airport and we were called for a cardiac arrest on the top floor of a large building in the air train station. On scene, a 15 year old was doing CPR on his father and I quickly dragged his dad off the train into the rental car lobby full of people and took over CPR. I used my cardiac monitor to shock his heart back into a good rhythm and the ambulance later took them all to the hospital. Later that day at the hospital I saw the boy, and he told me his dad was awake and would be okay." Image credits: Jef_Wheaton We also asked Justin if there were any misconceptions about his line of work that he would like to dispel. "So many... But the biggest misconception is that if paramedics arrive on scene and transport you to a hospital in an ambulance, it means you will be seen at the hospital quicker or mean more in an accident case or something," Justin explained. "If we tell you that maybe you could wait or go on your own, listen to our advice." He also added, "Paramedics and EMTs are going through a very rough time coming out of the pandemic where people ignored basic hygiene. They are tired and the system stressed to the breaking point. Also, learn CPR with a friend. You never know when they'll need it." If you'd like to hear more stories from Justin, be sure to check out his blog The Happy Medic right here. Image credits: harpejjist Image credits: shavemejesus Image credits: Nilocmirror Image credits: catsbluepajamas Image credits: DerpyTheCow47 Image credits: ShortyColombo Image credits: Reddit_Bork Image credits: anon Image credits: _etherbunny Image credits: 2beagles Image credits: allthedifference Image credits: Slamma_jamma1 Image credits: anon Image credits: StruggleToTheHeights Image credits: jochi1543 Image credits: Steveg27 Image credits: blueginpinktonic Image credits: talibob
#1Very early in my career as a criminal defense attorney, I had a black college student charged with a shooting. It was getting a lot of media statewide due to one of the people involved being a professional athlete. After investigating, I became convinced that he was innocent and the actual shooter was probably one of the state's primary witnesses. I had only had a few jury trials at that point and they all were defendants that were guilty as hell but refused to plead out. I didn't have a ton of faith in either a jury or my own ability to handle the case/consequences.
I worked my a*s off in preparation. Once we started trial, I realized I was knocking down every piece of evidence that the state was presenting. I was pumped with adrenaline and growing confidence. I tore up their star witness, who I thought was probably the actual shooter. One of the jurors actually laughed at the guy in disbelief of some of the things he was testifying to. I gave a thirty minute closing argument without even looking at my notes with the jury nodding along to everything I was saying. They were out 20 minutes and came back with a not guilty verdict. Front page news article in the biggest papers in the state. Client's mom is hugging me a crying with relief in one of the photos.
That guy still calls me up once a year to check in. Married, kids, solid white collar job. I always think of that case when I start to have doubts about doing defense work.
#2I was a SAHM, with four children, ages 8, 4, 3 and 1. You can imagine how crazed my life could be. One day, we were over at my mother-in-law's house for Sunday dinner, and I had left the kids with the family so I could run to the store to get butter or rolls, some small thing to go with dinner.
When I came back, my mother-in-law said, "Did you see how your kids' faces lit up the second you walked in the door?" I hadn't seen anything. But the next time the situation came up, I paid attention this time. And she was right! I was so busy being Crazy Harassed Mom with Too Much to Worry About that I was missing it: my kids adored me, and I wasn't seeing it.
Trust me, after that, I paid a lot more attention.
#3I was typing a report parked outside of a mall when a little girl who was 3-5 years old walked in front of my cruiser wearing pink gum boots and a yellow rain coat. She began waving at me and I waved back and even flashed the lights. She was super excited and turned to her dad to say something while smiling ear to ear and jumping around.
They dissapeared into the mall and came out a minute later with a coffee and a cookie. The girl brought the food to my window and I thanked her for them and asked if she wanted to sit in the driver seat. She was so excited and hopped in the car, I let her chirp the sirens, turn on the lights and even use the load speaker to say hello to her dad.
The dad was almost tearful with how much his daughter was enjoying this experience and told me that the country that they came from you couldn't trust the police and nothing like this interaction could ever happen. I cant remember what country he said they immigrated from but it was in the middle east. He asked me to join them for a coffee. I had to decline do to being horrifically behind on paper already but thanked him for the coffee and cookie.
I think about this day a lot when I have bad ones, it is quite a cherished memory of mine.
#4I volunteer at a nursery sometimes. This one kid (about six) came in with bruises up and down his arms. He was acting jumpy, and asked me to follow him. He brought me into an empty classroom, and pulled down his pants. There were gruesome burns and whip marks up and down his legs and buttocks. I called the cops, and when the kid was told that his mother would never hurt him again the smile on his face made my f*****g day.
Excuse me while I go cry in the corner.
#5Volunteer firefighter. We had an apartment fire, not too bad, but thick smoke to the floor. Partner and I did a search of the living room, with me leading. I was on the wall under a window when I found a large cage with a small, furry ball in a corner. I called to my partner,
We finished the search, grabbed the whole cage, and hauled it outside. The poor thing wasn't moving, was covered in soot, and had blood on its muzzle. Sorry, buddy.
We went back in, mopped up a hot spot, and helped with overhaul. When we came back out, someone said, "Hey, that critter was moving!"
I pulled the ferret out of the cage, and hustled to the ambulance. My dad, an EMT, hooked up a nasal cannula to the oxygen, and we got the tubes lined up with the ferret's nostrils.
A few seconds later, it perked up, wiggled a bit, and opened its eyes.
After a trip to the vet and a bath, he was good as new.
He lived for 5 more years.
In 17 years of firefighting, he was my only live rescue.
#6One of my students was accepted to Harvard. His mother said I should ask him to show me his application essay. The essay was literally about the impact I had on his life. Not gonna lie- I cried.
#7I work in a theater. It can be a very stressfull environment depending on they type of show and client.
A youth group came in for a two week show run a few years ago. Some of the kids act, some have technical roles and some help out back stage with scenery and props.
This time around I was the lighting designer/operator. One of the kids that got assigned to help with lights was an 11-year-old with cochlear implants. His implants worked great and he could have a regular conversation with anyone. The one thing that gave home trouble was the ClearCom headset. (What the crew uses to talk to each other during the show) It was bulky and interfered with his implants, it also didn't give him the best sound quality.
During the course of our conversations he mentioned that he could also take an AUX input into his sound processor, and showed me the mini stereo jack that allows him to do that. The gears in my brain immediately started spinning.
That night I went home and looked up the schematics for the ClearCom system. The one we had was relatively simple. Through some studying of the schematics I determined that I could make a cable that was 4-pin XLR on one end and mini stereo at the other end. This would allow him to plug his processor into the system and hear what everyone is saying.
I brought the cable in the next day and we tested it out. It worked! The kid was super stoked but more than that his parents could not thank me enough for taking the time and care to do something like that for the son.
Best day of work ever.
I also let him keep the cable I made so no matter which theater he went to he could plug right in.
#8This story does not have very high stakes but it still brings a smile to my face. I use to work at a certain video game retail store. One day a mother came in with tears in her eyes. Her son stole rent money and bought a psp with it. She was such a kind lady and she explained her situation. She knew that she could only get a fraction of the money back in case but she needed it for rent. She was looking to trade it in for cash. She had read the receipt and knew she was past the one week deadline and was not even trying to get a refund. So I quickly jumped on the computer and moved every psp out of stock. Then took her psp and smashed its screen on the counter. I then gave the shocked woman a smile and apologized that she had been given a broken psp. I told her that, while I would normally be happy to trade it out for a new one, I was unable to at the moment as we were fresh out. So all I could do was give her a full refund. She was so greatful and kind. I was really happy to be able to do that for her.
#9I was a preschool teacher for low income families, it was heartbreaking every single day. Kids who came to school dirty and hungry, who only get to eat meals at the school- drug addicted parents, just... so hard. I had about 17 children in my class and I truly loved every single one of them. I gave them 150 percent of myself every day, and thought about each one of them every night. One day, one of my kids was having a really rough day, he was acting out and hitting and crying and very angry. I pulled him aside to have a chat to see if I could help and he just fell into my arms and cried for 5 minutes straight, turned out his dad had gone back to jail the night before and this time wouldn’t be getting out soon. I helped him “write” a letter to his dad and he drew a picture of them together and by the end I guess he was feeling a little better. I got up but his little 4 year old hands pulled me back down and he grabbed my face with both hands and looked me straight in my eyes and said “I love you so much miss ——— (my first name) u make my heart happy” and I fought back tears and told him how much I loved him too. I still think about him and that moment years later and how even on the darkest days man.. kids are just full of love. I had a lot of moments like that working with kids, but this one is seared in my heart forever.
#10I was a dispatcher for a residential alarm company similar to ADT. I would call people when their alarm was tripped and ask them if they were okay.
One day I received a signal from a residence from a glass break sensor on a window in the bathroom.
When i called the lady was laughing so hard she could barely give me her safety password.
Turns out she was cleaning her bathroom and when she bent over she farted so hard and loud it set off the sensor on the bathroom window.
EDIT: I somehow got a silver while having no upvotes, nice
#11I'm nothing special, just a regular office worker doing her thing. It's very chill and I like what I do; while not incredibly inspiring, the best day on my job was the day my supervisor just kinda stopped typing, looked pensive for a few moments, and just went "You know Shorty, we really don't tell people enough when they're appreciated. I just want you to know we appreciate you".
I have gone through years of low self-esteem professionally-wise, with a myriad of agonizing jobs where I was made to feel small and that my job was a huge favor to me. Just hearing someone say I was valued was so huge for me, I still remember it was on August 11th.
#12Back around 1998 or 1999, I was new to the workforce in my first post-grad job ever. I was rather shy and nervous about the whole thing. I'm an extrovert, but was having trouble making friends at work.
On my birthday, my wife had an absolutely huge raspberry chocolate cake delivered to my work for me. It was probably a good 8 inches tall and about 18 inches by 24 inches. Massive and heavy. Tasted delicious.
It was delivered to my boss, who set it up beside my desk. He sent out a company wide email telling people where the cake was and to wish me a happy birthday. I had a constant stream of people in an out of my cube all day, some of which I got to know fairly well after their 4th piece. There was a very visible river of chocolate crumbs leading away from my cube. And from that day on everything had changed. I knew a lot of people well enough to strike up a conversation, and it seemed like everyone knew me enough to start chatting.
It was a good day.
#13Was called to a home for a drowning. 2 year old patient. Drownings suck because they nearly always end badly. We arrive on scene and there is a mother holding a 3 year old and another 2 year old child is soaking wet playing on the ground getting muddy. Long story short, these people dont even have a pool. Their 3 year old was messing on the phone and accidentally called 911. While on the line he kept telling the dispatcher that his brother was in the water. So the call came to us.
Mom gave us cupcakes and we played with them in the mud for a little bit. Great day.
#14I worked at a bicycle shop doing the basics: sales, bike builds, repairs.
One day this homeless man comes in asking if we could help him out with his bike, but he didn't have a way to pay for any service. The store owner was out for a bit and we were unsure how he would feel about us doing free work.
My co-workers and I were hesitant to get too involved or really even look at it, but it's hard to turn down a person in obvious need. We figured we could just turn a quick wrench or make a minor adjustment and get him back on the road.
It turns out that his rear cassette was busted (I don't remember what was wrong with it specifically) and needed to be completely replaced - bummer, not a quick fix.
It turns out that we would often find abandoned bicycles leaning against our rear exterior wall. I ran out back to see if we'd get lucky and scavenge a used cassette.
No luck that day.
However, we WERE right next to a popular donation station that had drop offs all the time. As luck would have it, a man was unloading a bunch of items out of his truck, including a couple of bicycles. I ran over to him before he pulled the bicycles out and asked him I I could have one for parts. He was giving them away anyway and didn't particularly care where they went, so he gladly gave me one.
I wheeled it past an unapproving donation station worker, but since the donation hadn't happened yet, he had no recourse.
My co-workers and I teamed up on the swap and got the man on his way as quickly as possible.
Once the man left with his now functional bicycle, we all took a second to smile at each other, feeling like we did something awesome for a fellow human being.
It's amazing what a difference five minutes can make
#15Bear with me--- I was a case manager for mentally ill adults. I knew things were tough for this lady, we'll call her Z. She and I were in our mid 20's. When I showed up for our meeting, she had a clear hand shaped bruise on her face. And bruises around her neck. She cried when she saw my face, reacting. Neighbors had called the police. They made him leave, but said it was "he said, she said". She needed a clearer report to get to a shelter on an emergency basis.
She was scared, but we went down to the precinct to make a report. On the way, I wanted to buy her breakfast. Z started crying again, because it was hard for her to decide what she wanted because she was so unused to making even that small choice. Oh, and she told me that he had r***d her once he came back after the police later that night....
The desk officer initially said that he couldn't do anything, because the report said that it was purely verbal. I am an angry crier, so I then burst into tears and angrily tell him to LOOK at the f*****g HANDPRINT on her face and the bruises on her neck. I tell him more quietly that there is more..... He gets a DV specialist, and a chief from the county happened to be there. And he happened to be a family friend. And he fixed things. We got the right report. And I take Z off to a hospital.
I call work to tell them what's going on and ask them to cancel the rest of my day. My supervisor has the f*****g nerve to tell me not to get too invested because I know that it's likely she'll just go back. I hung up on her. I had no idea, but a co-worker over heard this and went to our director.
I sat in the ER with Z and made plans for her future. What she wanted for dinner, what color blanket she would want for her new room. What her dream vacation would be. I held her hand while they did the rape kit.
Throughout the day I had been calling and working with a DV shelter. They picked her up from the hospital and promised me they had clothes and bedding for her. I went home and cried and cried.
The next day I was ready to escalate to my director, but found she already knew. She had flowers and apologies for me. My supervisor gave me a full apology as well.
Z never went back. I ran into her, and her very nice husband and adorable son about 10 years after. She had gotten her GED. She was working on her BA. She was safe.
On my very bad no good days when I am just destroyed, I remember that day. I was young and it was so hard and she was so hurt and broken. We kept going, together. It mattered.
Edit- Just to say, it would have mattered terribly and been entirely worth it even if she had gone back that very day. To be with her and support her as she did one of the hardest things a person can do -telling in the face of her fear and (undeserved) shame- that was a privilege. I don't want anyone to think that they somehow wouldn't be worth this and million times more if they couldn't leave....
#16We had a wedding! Back in the 1980s, Out patient George was dying of an aggressive cancer. He and his significant other Martha had been together for 46 years. They had lived as husband and wife and raised a family, with Martha being a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, as was common back then. An LPN was giving her a lift home and learned that they were never legally married. Martha would have no rights as his to his pension as surviving spouse, or social security (was too late) or as a spouse inheriting the house. The social worker confirmed there was no common law marriage. So we planned a wedding right there in the hospital.
George's doctor signed the forms saying he could not appear to obtain the licence, and someone took Martha to get the license. We all pitched in to get rings and some flowers. One of the nurses brought a little white fascinator for Martha to wear. We had some recorded music. The hospital chaplain performed the ceremony.
The wedding was joyful event in a sad situation.
#17During my time as a student teacher I was reading a fairly boring article about Aztec people I think. To make it not so boring for the kids and so they would listen more I stopped every now and then and added in extra details and compared things to examples of real life so they could have a better understanding of what was happening. All of the kids were absolutely silent the entire time and staring at me. When I finished the article a few of the kids started clapping like they had just seen a play or something. They stopped really quickly and looked a little embarrassed but I don't think I have ever felt so good. Every single student was asking questions and engaged and it just made me feel so good. I've never felt so great about something before.
#18Paramedic here. My best ever job was on a hot summers day in Australia, we were called to an 11 year old boy that had drowned in his family pool. I was halfway through a foot-long meatball sub when it happened and damn near s**t myself. We were about 5 minutes away, and when we arrived the boy's mother was providing CPR while his 8 year old twin sisters watched on, horrified. I check the carotid pulse (non-existent) and started to take over on compressions, my partner started to unpack the defib pads while our student toweled the kid off. Defib comes back showing Ventricular Tachycardia (one of the only two shockable rhythms), so we hit him with the lightning and he instantly went back into a sinus rhythm (normal heart rhythm). Kid then began to splutter, we rolled in him into the recovery position to help him get the water out of his lungs. In such a high octane situation, it honestly felt so good to be able to successfully revive somebody. I still think about that job any time that I wonder why I'm in this profession.
#19I work at a public library. I was at the information desk one day when a patron came in asking to use our printer. I helped her print out some immigration documents and as we were walking back to the desk, saw her look around at all of the books and DVDs. She asked me quietly how much a library "membership" was. When I explained everything was free, she started to tear up. She got her first library card that day. I would see her all the time. She started taking advantage of the English language classes we offered and regularly thanked me for the "free membership" :) Working at public libraries is tough but periodically it is so worth it.
#20Mine is kind of lame compared to the others but I worked at Kay Jewelers and we had a young man who had put a ring on layaway when I had first started, he diligently came in every 2 weeks to pay off the ring for almost 8 months. On his final payment he brought his girlfriend in to "ring shop" and she picked the exact ring he'd placed on hold so long ago. He said let's buy it and she got so red and said there is no way we can afford that. He went to the counter leaving her with me to look at other stuff. He came back and proposed to her right there in the store and she cried and said yes. It was so adorable and they came back about a year later to pick out a band for the wedding. The best part was the two of them had been working hard and got promoted at their jobs and he bought the new ring out right.
#21I’m a crisis counselor and negotiator for a police department. The morning of this day, I got accepted to PA school. It was such a joyous occasion. My first case at work was a kid who was hanging off the edge of a tall building. I remember walking up and thinking “not today.” We talked for several hours. We talked about important things and small things. Eventually, he came back over the ledge and I was able to shake his hand. This job can come with some very bad days. But that day I walked away from there feeling so fulfilled. That was my best day.
#22My best day was also one of my worst days when I worked at Apple. Years ago, a lady came into the Apple Store in her pajamas and looked like a mess. She was crying, cursing and just beyond frustrated. My Manager knew I loved dealing with difficult people (I have no idea why I do), so I got paired with this lady. She tore me apart like all the other employees she talked to. After slowly calming her down I found she dropped her iPhone 4 in the tub and the phone had photos of her baby who passed away from complications. The iPhone would not turn on and water was seen moving in the display.
Now, policy back then was to just replace the phone no questions asked. While this was my option, she also had no backup of her photos and this was before iCloud. I worked with water damage before outside of Apple and wanted to give this a go. I requested to clock out (Apple did not support repairs like this and I knew I would never in a million years get the OK to work on this on company time...) and began working with my own tools and with lots of alcohol. It took about 3 hours, and I was successful to get it to turn on to the point where we could get the phone on and transfer to her replacement via the Bump (or Bumped?) app.
I got to see the photos of her baby and she cried on me for some time. She went back to the store and apologized to everyone, she was living in a Hell since the baby's passing. My store leader heard the story and called me in her office. Thinking I was in trouble, she let me have some extra Steve days (those were like personal days off) and bought me a great lunch to thank me as well as replaced the time on my timecard.
#23I used to work at an animal shelter and honestly had a lot of good days to pair with the bad ones. One of the coolest things I can remember happening was a family came looking to adopt a cat. We had a cat that was having a tough time getting adopted so he got to roam free in the shelter to schmooze with people. Well this family encounters the cat and they don’t just fall in love, they had a huge sigh of relief. The shelter cat was their cat that went missing 5 years before hand. They instantly recognized him and immediately readopted him. It was a really neat twist of fate.
#24I work at a bookstore chain cafe and we had a trans mtf regular. She went from Robert to Barbara and we got to watch the transformation. At first she started as robert the regular, who was quite talkative but very nice, and slowly started opening up about how she felt. We were all very supportive of her and we would compliment when she would wear more feminine clothing or nail polish. I remember vividly the day she told me her name was officially legally changed and she was so excited because it had been a hassle. On a weekend night when most of us who had been close with Barbara were working, she came in in a beautiful Cinderella style dress and a giant cupcake from a famous bakery in New York. She told us that she was moving away and wanted to thank is for being so kind and understanding and accepting of her as the person she was and how much we and our kindness meant to her. I haven't seen her since but I think about her from time to time and hope she is still happy.
Edit: I realize the title says emotionally difficult jobs. While retail can be that way, it doesn't compare to things like police work or doctors or therapists. My apologies.
#25I'm a physician. Some years ago, I was a resident on obstetrics on my FIRST DAY, FIRST HOUR of my shift and I watched a pregnant woman almost die and give birth to a baby boy that ended up dying shortly after due to the complications of childbirth. The boy required extensive resuscitation - it was my first time seeing a "code" on a child, let alone a newborn. However, he ended up with severe brain damage and was eventually taken off life support in the NICU. It was their third round of IVF, and the previous two rounds had failed. It was one of those very unfortunate stories where nothing could have been done - maybe if the woman had presented earlier, but unfortunately, despite emergency surgery, it was too late. Thankfully, the mother survived with no health consequences, but it was emotionally devastating for everyone involved. Multiple nurses were agonizing whether they had done something wrong, my attending had told me to expect a lawsuit. Thankfully, it never materialized. But, that was probably the worst day I've ever had on the job. And yet, half an hour later we had to move on and stitch up a vaginal tear on a woman who kept b*tching about how she "had been waiting for three hours already!!!!" but we couldn't tell her just WHY she waited. So we just apologized profusely for our troublesome tardiness and kept smiling.
Two years later, I was on pediatrics in the same hospital and I was examining a prematurely born infant that was a few months old. As the mom and I were fiddling with the baby, I noticed the mom had a tattoo of a boy's name and a date below it on her wrist. I looked at the date and realized it was the first day of my residency training. I immediately had chills come over me. I debated for a minute whether it was inappropriate for me to ask that, but I went ahead and asked the mom "Did you, by any chance, lose a baby boy at this hospital on X date?" She said "Yes" and I told her I was the resident who first examined her. We talked about her traumatic experience, as she teared up and said that after that, she couldn't fathom getting pregnant, or even setting foot on the maternity ward, ever again. Eventually, she said her and her husband came to the realization that they were ready to consider adoption and listed themselves in a North American registry. Then she said one day she got a call saying there was a severely premature newborn available some 3000 miles away. It was an abandoned crack addict's baby that was left at a fire station. She said they didn't think twice and booked the flight to go and get the baby. They went through the adoption process and the baby was now thriving, several months old, developing well, and cared for by a loving family. She said she felt that her and this baby were meant to find each other after both traveling these extremely difficult paths.
It was probably the most heartwarming story I've ever come across and it was so relieving to hear that this woman (and the abandoned baby) all found their happy endings. So, I would say it was my best day on the job.
#26I'm a hospice chaplain, working with all kinds of people and families who are grappling with the reality of death and how they will handle it. One day I'm doing my scheduled visits and I get a call from one of our nurses. One of our patients is actively dying and her husband and daughter would appreciate a chaplain visit for prayer. Walking into the room, the daughter is pacing at the foot of the bed while the husband is sitting in a chair near the head of the bed, with an older woman lying there. At this point she's breathing slowly, but her eyes are just blankly staring and she doesn't really react to anything. I introduce myself, talk with the family about this woman and her life, and pray with them about her finding peace and then finding a way through it all. Standard chaplain stuff. At the end of the prayer though, I notice her breathing rate is really declining. We're down to maybe a breath every 10 seconds and still slowing. This is likely it. So I just ask the husband, if this was the moment that she dies what would you want her to hear from you? He paused, looked at her as he held her hand, and thanked her for all the years they shared and for being together even to this moment. Through tears he assured her he would be alright and just kept telling her how she made his life something worth living through all the years they shared together. As he said all this, she took her last breath. And that was it. The family asked if she had passed away, and I affirmed that I thought she did and offered them a quiet moment with her before we had a doc confirm it. But for me, hearing the story of a life lived well and shared well and helping that man both hold onto her and let go of her...That was a good day.
#27Policeman in small town. Got a call to try and locate a woman who was on the heart transplant list. She wasn't answering her phone or pager. Early 90's and she didn't have a cell phone.
It was in the middle of the night and cold in the middle if Feb.
I knocked on the door of every neighbour on her culdesac without success.
Last house on Culdesac which was across the street told me she'd gone to her mothers out of town. Was able to get her number and contact her.
She got a new heart that night.
I'm retired now and still she her on occasion.
She always makes a big deal and hugs me.
She'd forgotten her pager and didn't go back to get it thinking what are the chances they'll call tonight......
#28So, this is only tangentially related to the job, but I thought I would share. Years ago I was a customer service rep for a casual video game company - mostly tethered to the phone resetting people's passwords and such, with some low level tech support via email. Many many sh*tty customers with entitled complaints, with the occasional kind one I was able to help out. There's something heartwarming about helping a distraught elderly person get their "gem game" (Bejeweled) working again, because they play everyday to keep their mind sharp. But this story isn't really about that.
Anywho, one day I'm training the New Girl on the email queue, walking her through protocol and such, when I notice dark finger-shaped bruises on her forearms. Now I'm a larger male and I don't know this lady at all yet, so I'm not sure what to say; they could be happy-fun bruises or very-not-happy-fun bruises. I don't want to intrude, make her uncomfortable, or force her to explain any NSFW hobbies she might have during her first week, but on the other hand...
I finally muster the courage to gesture to them and quietly say "is everything okay?". She turns to me with the biggest look of relief in her eyes and wordlessly shakes her head no. That day after work, we head straight to the apartment she shared with her (now ex-) boyfriend to collect her things.
Now, she was understandably distraught that morning so had left the house without her key. But not to worry! She knew that she'd be able to open a window and slip in easily because there was no insect screen. We had taken a few suitcases and boxes down to my car (which included a few expensive game consoles) when it occured to me that I might have been tricked into looting some stranger's apartment.
It wasn't until she broke out a cat carrier and captured the cat that I really realized we were okay. She utilized a mix of gentle coaxing combined with a minor bit of stuffing-stubborn-cat-head-into-carrier that I recognized as a cat owner myself ("Get! In! The! Box!"). There was no way this cat didn't belong to her. I also made a small joke about it later, and she made a point to show me some pieces of mail she had received there.
Anywho, New Girl ended up staying at my apartment that night, and eventually became my roommate for about a year. Cat quickly became a good friend and slept on top of me when I was on the couch. Both are happy and healthy today.
So, not related to the job itself, but probably my best day at work.
#29Doctor. I was on duty in the emergency unit in a rural hospital in a third world country when two women arrived with >60% total body surface area burns after the gas canister in the school kitchen where they volunteered exploded. Both women were fully conscious when they were brought in. I treated them aggressively - morphine, fluids, burn dressings, intubated both to protect their airways - and made arrangements for transfer to a hospital equipped to treat them further, but this has an extremely poor prognosis due to ongoing damage and associated complications. I was sad but not surprised to hear that the one woman passed away within hours. At that stage I worked in a very fragmented system and since I did not hear anything about the second woman I assumed she died as well.
For some weeks I had trouble adjusting to the idea that the last thing in their lives those two women heard was me saying, "Hi, I'm Dr So-and-So, you got very badly burnt, I gave you some strong pain stuff but I'm worried about damage to your face, so I'm going to give you something to make you sleep and then put a tube in your lungs to protect them, ok?" (paraphrased slightly)
Slightly over six months later I get a call from the sister on duty at the emergency unit, "There is someone here that you absolutely want to see."
It was the second woman from that fire. She had been through hell - skin grafts, rehabilitation, depression - but against the odds had survived. She also immediately recognised me as the one who said "I'm going to give you something to make you sleep," but she remembered it more favorably than I did.
It was easily the happiest day of my entire career so far, practicing for +- 11years now.
#30I was a teacher in a low income-charter school, which you may recognize as a recipe for disaster. The school was poorly run, we had to provide most supplies ourselves, and had unreasonable and unrealistic expectations placed on us. I was teaching 1st grade at the time. We had a rule that only one child could be out of the classroom at a time, no matter what. I had 30 kids. Eventually, one of my kids had a bathroom accident (I have to say here, if I knew he had to go that bad, I would have let him go rules be damned. He never gave any indication that it was an emergency). He did his best, but 1st graders have small bladders. I got him a change of clothes and minimized his embarrassment as much as I could. His mom was furious. She came in the next day and spent a solid 10 minutes screaming at me. A dean finally came and escorted her away and I thought that would be the end of it. It wasn't. She stayed at the school the entire day and just...watched. She saw what the teachers were going through and what we had to deal with. She came back to me at the end of the day and apologized. She was my biggest supporter from then on and if I needed something, she had it for me. On the day I quit, she hugged me and told me that I was too good for that place and it was her son's last day too. Obviously, I've had better days than that in my career, but that was a day that gave me hope and helped me not give up my career due to one bad school.
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Many children grow up dreaming about being firefighters, doctors, lawyers or teachers, but in reality, these career paths are no walk in the park. They can often be high-stress jobs, and they can take a huge toll on the emotional state of the professionals who enter these fields. When every day at work you have to help out someone who is having the worst day of their life, it can be hard to step away from that emotional state when the day ends. But occasionally, these individuals get lucky. Once in a blue moon, or perhaps only once in their entire career, these heroes get to have a day that stands out as being extremely positive or impactful.
The stories on this list may still sound overwhelming and stressful to those of us who don’t work in life-saving situations, but it really puts things into perspective to know that they were the best days for these professionals. Unfortunately, we will all at one point or another be in a situation where we require help from the people in these fields, so let’s take a moment to appreciate them and honor their stories.
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To gain some insight into what it's really like to work in one of these high-stress professions, we reached out to Justin Schorr. Justin is a second generation firefighter and paramedic with 28 years experience serving various urban, suburban and urban neighborhoods. He is ARFF certified and currently serves as a Paramedic Captain with a San Francisco Bay Area Fire Department. First, we wanted to know what inspired Justin to get into this field in the first place. "My father was a firefighter so I naturally gravitated towards this line of work," he told Bored Panda. "However, as an EMT in rural New Mexico, I had a patient I couldn't help because I didn't have the right training so I applied to Paramedic School."
"The average day starts with a rigorous check of our equipment and supplies," Justin explained. "Then a briefing from the Captain about local events, road closures, hospital issues, etc. Then it's off to our post based on the needs of the system. Dispatch will move us and the other ambulances around to try to reduce response times. We'll respond to calls for service, meeting some people on their worst day and try to make that bad day better. 12 hours later, if we're lucky, we can go home."
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We also asked Justin if one particular day stands out to him as the best one in his career. "There are several good days, and luckily they outnumber the bad ones," he shared. "I recall one particular day I was working at the international airport and we were called for a cardiac arrest on the top floor of a large building in the air train station. On scene, a 15 year old was doing CPR on his father and I quickly dragged his dad off the train into the rental car lobby full of people and took over CPR. I used my cardiac monitor to shock his heart back into a good rhythm and the ambulance later took them all to the hospital. Later that day at the hospital I saw the boy, and he told me his dad was awake and would be okay."
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We also asked Justin if there were any misconceptions about his line of work that he would like to dispel. "So many... But the biggest misconception is that if paramedics arrive on scene and transport you to a hospital in an ambulance, it means you will be seen at the hospital quicker or mean more in an accident case or something," Justin explained. "If we tell you that maybe you could wait or go on your own, listen to our advice."
He also added, "Paramedics and EMTs are going through a very rough time coming out of the pandemic where people ignored basic hygiene. They are tired and the system stressed to the breaking point. Also, learn CPR with a friend. You never know when they'll need it."
If you'd like to hear more stories from Justin, be sure to check out his blog The Happy Medic right here.
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