On the evening of March 19, as hospital staff made their way to and from work at Victoria General Hospital (VGH), they were greeted by a group of locals holding bright, handwritten signs to show their gratitude for health care employees working through the COVID-19 outbreak.
View Royal mom Joyanne Longmore and her two kids had spent the day at Thetis Lake and “saw doom and gloom” on many faces. In an effort to brighten people’s day, they started waving to other drivers. After getting a heartwarming response, they decided to find other ways to make people smile.
Longmore and her kids live near VGH and know many nurses, so they decided to make some supportive signs with messages such as “thank you, nurses” and “honk if you are thankful.” Then, with two friends in tow, they made their way down to the hospital at shift change so those coming off work and those heading into work could see the kind messages.
“There’s not much we can do for each other right now, but there are little things,” Longmore said adding that the response was amazing.
Some passerbys blew kisses, others rolled down their windows to say thank you or honked their horns and some paramedics even hit the sirens in response, she said.
Saanich resident and VGH nurse Dorothy Chambers was “teary” when she spotted the signs on her way into work.
At first, she thought the signs were for loved ones in the hospital as visiting isn’t currently permitted, but as she got closer, Chambers realized the signs were for hospital staff and the group was waving to her.
“They said ‘we are sending hugs from afar to all you front-line workers to say thank you,’” she explained.
Chambers stopped to snap a photo of the signs to show the rest of her coworkers inside.
“It still chokes me up, I am so moved by that gesture,” she said.
Longmore added the signs weren’t just for medical staff as there are many others who help keep things running; they thanked laundry staff, delivery drivers, paramedics, firefighters, cashiers and more.
View Royal Mayor David Screech shared a photo of the group on Instagram. He “thought it was wonderful” that local families would help bring some light to the hospital staff’s day, especially during such a grim time.
Longmore and her kids plan to continue to show support during the evening shift change and are inviting others to join them at the traffic circle – from a safe distance – to show those still going into work that people are thankful for the “immense service” they’re providing.