Make Your Week: In search of an 'elevator angel'

Make Your Week: In search of an 'elevator angel'

(Courtesy Nina Lee)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes the smallest act of kindness can mean the world to a person needing to feel loved. Such was the case for Nina Lee. She shared her story with in hopes of finding her "elevator angel" and letting the woman know how truly grateful she is for the love the woman showed her on a hospital elevator.

The "Make Your Week" column features uplifting stories sent in from people outside the newsroom. To share the stories that have made your day better, email them, preferably in 100 words or less, to Photos and videos are encouraged. Stories may be edited for clarity.

Nina Lee

"I vividly remember the day the doctors gave us the heartbreaking news that our son, Brandon, had a rare, incurable autoimmune disease. Although they told us his probable path, nothing could have prepared us for the journey we had just begun.

"Year after year, surgery after surgery, the hospital became our second home. Even after a life-saving liver transplant, Brandon’s health continued to decline. During his most recent stay, his team of specialists gathered outside his room as usual, but this time, as they entered the room, they appeared solemn. I was told that the test results were not good and they had done all they could, but my son did not have much longer to live. Hearing those words, I could hardly breathe. How could this be happening?

"Still in shock, we met with a social worker, chaplain and members of the palliative team. We said our final goodbyes to the doctors and staff who had kindly helped care for my son during his 17-year battle. Then, the gurney arrived to take him home. Home, for hospice care. Words cannot adequately describe the horrible pain I felt as I watched Brandon loaded into the ambulance and (watched it) pull away. Up until that very moment, I had hope. Hope that somehow my son would get better and live the wonderful life that he deserved. I wanted to scream for the ambulance to stop, turn around, come back and make the doctors try again! In my heart, I desperately pleaded, 'Please, don’t give up on our son!'

"Dazed, I returned to his room to gather my belongings. Then, alone, I waited for the elevator. As the doors opened, I saw a couple inside. We exchanged polite smiles as I entered. There was no way for them to know the excruciating pain I was in, but as the doors closed I could not hold back my emotions any longer and tears began to stream down my face.

"Within seconds, the woman reached out and embraced me. She held me as I sobbed for five floors as the elevator descended. To answer her inquisitive look, I said, 'It’s my son.' She said, 'I hope he gets better soon.' I blurted out, 'He won’t.' Tenderly, she whispered, 'I am so sorry. I will pray for you.' As the elevator doors opened, I thanked her and quickly made my way to my car. Three days later, my son passed away.

"I will forever be grateful for the compassion of the complete stranger who saw that I was hurting and came to my aid. That beautiful connection has meant so much to me and I wish with all my heart that I could find my elevator angel and thank her in person. She should know how very much I needed and appreciated her act of love that day. This happened April 18, 2018, at the University of Utah hospital."

If you know who this "elevator angel" is, please email and KSL will pass along that information to Nina Lee.


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Jordan Ormond is a deputy news director at She joined in 2007 as a web producer and spent many years selecting, writing and editing news stories particularly important to Utah readers. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in broadcast journalism.


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