The True Story of the Cook and Janitor Who Cared for Patients at an Abandoned Nursing Home Is Being Made Into a Film

‘If we left, they wouldn't have nobody,’ said Alvarez. ‘We were just the cook and the janitor.’

The official fundraising campaign begins Sunday, May 10. 

Update: Wondering what Maurice and Miguel are up to these days? We recently called them to find out

In November, we learned through StoryCorps about Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez — the cook and janitor, respectively, at the Valley Springs Manor nursing home — who stayed behind to care for patients after the facility was abruptly closed down.

The rest of the staff packed their things and left, but Rowland and Alvarez stayed because “If we left, they wouldn't have nobody.”

The two, who have been friends since middle school, provided round-the-clock care for elderly patients, distributing medication and making sure that they were bathed and fed.

“I just couldn’t see myself going home,” Rowland told StoryCorps.

After several days, emergency responders finally evacuated the nursing home, and in the weeks following the ordeal, Rowland and Alvarez received commendations from the California Legislature and were honored by the American Veterans Association. Their work also led to the introduction of the Residential Care for the Elderly Reform Act of 2014, which protects nursing home residents from being abandoned in the case of a shutdown.

Now, filmmaker Miles Maker wants to turn their story into a feature-length movie, If We Left. “Help make a film based on a true story about a cook and a janitor who did the right thing and became national heroes,” Maker urged on the social reach platform Thunderclap, where 1.3 million people have already shared the campaign. 


The official fundraising campaign begins Sunday, May 10.