On a cold December morning, Lori Freedman, Medicare billing systems and audit coordinator, was on her way to work. As Lori pulled into her office parking lot, she saw an elderly woman standing next to a parked car who seemed nervous. Concerned, Lori approached her.
“It took her a few minutes to explain what had happened, but she thought she had been involved in an accident,” Lori explains, adding that she recalls the road being icy that morning. “She probably narrowly missed the accident but the entire situation had upset her.”
The woman insisted on waiting outside for her husband to pick her up. “I let her borrow my phone because we couldn’t figure out how to use hers,” Lori says. “After she called her husband, I offered her to come inside because it was cold, but she was still very upset by what had happened and wanted to wait until her husband came for her.”
Half an hour went by and Lori couldn’t stop thinking about the woman. She told her manager what happened before heading outside to check on her. “I didn’t feel comfortable not knowing what had happened and whether her husband found her or not,” Lori says.
The woman was still standing outside waiting for her husband. Lori decided to wait with her. “We talked probably for 20 minutes,” she says. “She told me she was from Germany, and she met her husband during World War II before they got married and moved to the United States. She was an amazing person and I could have listened to her all morning.”
More time passed and the woman’s husband had not arrived. Lori was able to convince the woman to let her drive her home. Upon their arrival, the woman’s husband was relieved to see his wife safe and sound. “He was frantic because he didn’t know how to find her,” Lori explains. “They were worried about each other and it was so nice to get them together.”
A few days later, the woman came back to the office to deliver a big tray of cookies as a thank you for Lori’s act of kindness. “We are all here to help people and our community,” says Lori. “My manager understood what was happening and I was glad I could help her. That’s why I love working here, because who I am as a person aligns with the organization’s mission and culture.”
Lori, who was born and raised in Pennsylvania, moved to the Eastern Shore years ago. Once she had raised her children, she was ready to go back to work. And coming from a healthcare background, working at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) seemed like a perfect fit. Eleven years later, she says she knows she made the right choice.
“I started in patient Financial Services in 2008 and I made a jump to Reimbursement for a couple of years before I came back to the department where I started,” she says. “The people who work here and even the projects we’ve chosen and community outreach we do has helped to sustain our culture.”
Lori, who has won two Champion Awards, says that her colleagues and the people she gets to work with every day are what have kept her at AAMC for so long. “I left this department and came right back voluntarily,” she says. “I love the people I work with and I love the leadership we have. More than anything, I think my job is fun. All of those factors are important to me.”
Pro tip: “At the heart of it, you truly have to love what you do, the people you work with and who you’re serving.”