Lindon Beckford has been working as a hospital transporter at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston for more than 30 years.
As he transports sick patients — many racked with anxieties or dealing with a lot of discomfort — he has a special way of putting them at ease:
Working on the front line is a different mindset because you have to learn to give up yourself first -- forgetting about yourself for a while, so you can help other people.Lindon Beckford
Before he ends up singing, Beckford and patients spend a lot of time talking together. He explains their interactions like this:
In patient transport, a lot of time we're just talking, have conversation about any little thing — gardening, pets, sports, anything in the news, or, you know, families.
In between, then if something come to me, I'll just start singing out. I'm singing anything that come to mind: reggae, gospel, country, love songs — whatever comes to mind at the moment, I'll sing.
People telling me how good it is, and how good it makes them feel, so I continue doing it.
In the midst of a pandemic, Beckford said there isn't much that has changed about the way he helps care for patients.
"With COVID-19, it doesn't make much difference to us. We're doing safe practices, ya know? Double up your gloves and your precaution gowns and your mask ... I'm not too concerned about it. I'm more worried about people who are going through physical illness, ya know?"
Fundamentally, he said that his job — and others like it — takes a certain mindset:
"Working on the front line is a different mindset because you have to learn to give up yourself first — forgetting about yourself for a while, so you can help other people."
Listen to the audio attached to this post to hear Beckford sing a bit of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." This audio dispatch was produced by WBUR's Khari Thompson, George Hicks and Tania Ralli.
This segment aired on April 22, 2020.