‘She was a light to me:’ Woman thanks stranger for act of kindness as her husband was battling COVID-19

WHEATON, Ill. — A Wheaton woman is thankful this Thanksgiving for a stranger whose small gesture went a long way.

Courtney Lacy’s husband John started feeling sick, and a few days later he could hardly breathe.

“My husband who’s 37, healthy, and yet… in the first wave he got it, got Covid and it just wiped him out,” Lacy said.

John went to the hospital the day before his daughter’s first birthday, and a few days before Courtney’s own birthday.

“I was exhausted, I was like it does not feel like my birthday or her birthday, we were just so tired,” she remembers.

So when a delivery arrived at their home, Courtney thought it must be from John.

“I was just so floored because I thought, ‘did John secretly plan this in all of his exhaustion?’ And no, I opened the card and was like, ‘who is this beautiful human who sent this to me?’”

Outside her door was a “Happy Birthday” balloon and a box full of treats with a card attached. It read: “Happy Birthday to you and your daughter, wishing you a wonderful day despite these difficult times, enjoy. Paula.”

Paula worked at the emergency room at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, and had called earlier asking for some paperwork after John was admitted for COVID-19.

“So of course I gave her all the information, but when she asked how I’m doing, I was just like, ‘well, my husband has COVID, and it’s my daughter and my birthday this weekend,’ It was one of those moments where you break down,” Courtney remembered.

While she was grateful for Paula’s kindness on the phone, Courtney said the thoughtfulness meant even more.

“Your beautiful spirit really, truly brightened my day,” she said, addressing Paula. “That horrible day, that I felt really hopeless. I am so thankful that you brought so much joy into my life with this sweet, unexpected gesture.”

John later had to be hospitalized for four days due to viral pneumonia and was on oxygen for two months. But Paula’s kindness during a scary time helped- and won’t be forgotten.

“You know she’s going through so much day in, day out. Seeing so much sickness, so much sadness, yet she was just a light, she was a light to me that day and that’s exactly what I needed,” Courtney Lacy said.

John is doing much better now, so Courtney is also thankful for everyone’s health after a difficult year.