Sometimes, a small gesture is everything. Here’s the story of a touching decision by two paramedics that turned one man’s last ambulance ride into a sweet final journey. Ron McCartney, of Queensland, Australia, was dying of prostate cancer, and had barely eaten in days. In early September, his wife Sharon called the Queensland Ambulance Service to take Ron on his final journey to the hospital and then to palliative care. But when she told the paramedics how long it had been since Ron had eaten, paramedics Kate Hanafy and Hanna Hoswell decided to sweeten up his final ride.
“He was very low on energy and tired and lethargic, looking a bit down in the dumps,” Hoswell told Australia’s 9News. “Kate said, ‘Well, if we could get him anything, what would it be?’ And (Sharon and Ron) smiled at each other and said, ‘caramel sundae.’”
It wasn’t an easy road to that sundae. According to the Brisbane Times, the paramedics discovered their ambulance wouldn’t fit in the nearby McDonald’s drive-thru, so they parked the rig and went in to order the sundae and bring it to their patient.
“He was getting it all over his face, getting it all over his shirt, he had a big smile on his face and his wife was tearing up because she was so pleased to see him eating,” Hanafy told the Times.
McCartney’s daughter, Danielle Smith, said her father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001. “He’ll never say no to a caramel sundae,” she told the Times.
The ambulance service used social media to share a photo of McCartney enjoying his treat, and it quickly went viral.
“Dad enjoyed this so much and (it) was the last thing he was able to eat by himself,” Smith wrote on the Facebook post. “Dad sadly passed away Saturday morning (just days after the sundae).”
The post inspired many others to reminisce about the final food treats their loved ones enjoyed during their last days, and the other small gestures that made slipping out of this world a tiny bit easier.
This kind of caring isn’t unusual for the Queensland Ambulance Service. In 2017, a patient wanted to see the ocean for the last time, so drivers brought her up to the shore and even scooped up some seawater for her to feel and taste.
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