Construction Worker’s Daily Act Of Kindness For Kids In Hospital Goes Viral

by Ashley Austrew
Originally Published: 
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Construction worker plays “Where’s Waldo” with patients at a children’s hospital

You wouldn’t normally think of a construction site as an exciting place, but a gesture by one foreman at a site near a children’s hospital might just change your mind about that. Every day, he hides a life-sized Where’s Waldo cut-out so the kids next door at Memorial Children’s Hospital can have some fun looking for it.

Jason Haney is working on $50 million expansion at Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. He tells the Huffington Post he and his coworkers got word that a snowman they built on-site last winter delighted children staying in the main hospital. He tried to replicate their joy by placing an inflatable snowman and Spongebob Squarepants on-site. Then, a coworker gave him a brilliant idea.

“He came up to me, and was kind of joking around, and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if there was a Waldo up here?’” Haney told the Huffington Post. “And I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s kind of cool.’ Then the idea sat in my head for a little while and I was like, ‘I’m going to make him, I’m going to do it!’”

Haney used a sheet of plywood to make a life-size cut-out of Waldo and started hiding it in various places around the construction site last April. When the kids spot it, the hospital lets him know, and he moves it for the next search. Haney’s Waldo has gotten so popular, it even has its own Facebook page where people share photos of all the crazy places Waldo has ended up.

You know, like chilling at the very top of the building.

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Taking a little bathroom break.

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Catching some sun.

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Working the late shift.

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Or, even at the entrance to the site — no doubt getting ready to put in some hard work.

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Haney told the Huffington Post his own teenage daughter spent time in a children’s hospital when she was three years old, so he knows what the experience is like for both parents and their kids, and he just wanted to “get their minds off things” and help them have a little fun. “He’s eight-feet tall and a pain in the butt to move around sometimes,” Haney said. “He’s 50, 60 pounds and he’s awkward to carry. But it’s worth it for the kids.”

Haney and his coworkers don’t have to keep the Waldo game going, but they do it because they care about the kids staying in the hospital, and they know it brings a little bit of magic into what can otherwise be a scary and stressful situation. It’s a sweet and inspiring gesture, especially right now when so much going on in the world seems so bleak. It’s a beautiful reminder that kindness and joy can be found almost anywhere — you just have to search for it.

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