"I've always liked helping people, and this seems like you're helping."
Ron is a familiar face at UPMC Western Maryland. But many people know him by another name.
His grandfather nicknamed him "Skeeter" shortly after he was born, and the name stuck.
"If somebody comes through the door now and says, 'Hi, Skeeter,' I know that they know me from somewhere," he says.
Whether you know him as Ron or Skeeter, you probably encountered him near the second-floor hospital entrance if you visited UPMC Western Maryland in the last nine years.
Thousands of patients and their families come through the doors of UPMC Western Maryland each year. Ron is often the first person they see. He asks people where they need to go, helps them if they need directions, and even accompanies them to make sure they get where they need to go. For patients with limited mobility, he offers to transport them to their appointments.
"We move people and greet people, and I know almost everyone who's walked in the hospital over the course of nine years," he says.
When he says he knows them, he means it. He takes the time to ask them questions and learn about them. He even knows when many regular patients' have scheduled appointments.
If he senses someone is having a bad day, he'll try to brighten it with a smile or a joke. And if a patient is waiting for public transportation after an appointment, Ron will wait with them.
“I've always liked helping people somehow," Ron says. "Regardless of what you do — it could be minor or major — I think that's just helping people."
That friendliness comes from a background of working in customer service. But it also comes naturally to Ron. He has a jovial, joking relationship with his co-workers, many of whom are younger than him.
Over the course of his career at UPMC Western Maryland, Ron has become close with his co-workers and with many of the people who come through the hospital doors. He's attended visitation services of patients who have died. And many other former patients and loved ones have sent him cards or treats over the years.
"We get a lot of cookies (at the holidays)," he says. "And I've had a few very nice cards that I've kept over the years. People will just give me a card and thank me for being very nice to them."
But for Ron, a simple smile or "thank you" is enough.
"It makes you feel good," he says. "It makes you feel like you need to come to work. And I like coming to work."
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means showing kindness to others.
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