Andre Palmer probably didn’t think too much about what would happen when he curled up under his 20-month-old son, Andre’s, crib in the Pediatric department of York Hospital in Pennsylvania. He may have thought about how tired he was after pulling an overnight shift at work, or wondered briefly if he remembered to leave his 4-year-old daughter, Aaralynn’s, favorite toy at daycare before he drove to the hospital. He may have thought about his rumbling stomach or given his wife, Amy, a quick peck on the cheek before collapsing in exhaustion.
What he didn’t think about, however, was that the simple gesture of a father wanting to be close to his sick son would touch the hearts of thousands of people around the world. But that’s exactly what happened.
Amy, who posted the picture on Facebook, wanted to share the sweet moment of a loving and hardworking father of three, a father who would do anything for his son who was hospitalized after a severe asthma attack. And that includes sleeping on a germ-infested hospital floor.
“This is a picture of a hard working man dedicated to his family!!” Amy wrote. “After working all night third shift, he’s right here with his son who is in the hospital. He’s so tired but he’s here!! Father of the year award goes to Andre Palmer!!!”
She went on to explain that their son’s room was so small that it only fit a chair bed and the crib. Having just come off his overnight shift at York Container, where he worked from 11 PM to 7 AM, Andre found his wife already asleep in the chair bed, so he did the logical thing and curled up as close as he could to his son. Half-asleep when Andre came into the room, Amy told Babble that she was “really surprised” to see him there when she woke up. “I had just assumed he would go home to bed since he worked all night,” she recalled. “He said he didn’t want to bother anyone and he was tired. I thought how sweet it was.”
“I had to take a picture because to many, all they see is a man lying on the floor,” Amy explained on Facebook. “To me I saw a man who worked all night, who could have went home to go to sleep (I wouldn’t have minded knowing he worked all night), who could have asked me to get up so he could lay down. All this shows the amazing husband and father he is!!!”
While the nurse in me is slightly horrified that anyone would willingly go near the bacterial horror that is a hospital floor, I know the feeling of just wanting to be near your sick baby. When you feel helpless, sometimes just being near your child is enough. Also, don’t worry — Amy assures us that after her husband curled up in exhaustion and she snapped the sweet picture (because of course), she made him get into bed and covered him up with a proper blanket. And in even better news, their son was discharged from the hospital later that afternoon and is now happy and healthy at home.
After her husband’s photo went viral, Palmer wrote on Facebook how much it has meant to her to have such a positive response to her photo.
“I am so overwhelmed with so much emotion right now. I just want to take a minute to thank everyone who reached out to us whether by sharing the story, commenting, or sending messages. I appreciate all of the prayers and thoughts. … I would have never imagined that it would have touched so many people.”
But unlike the rest of the world, Amy told Babble that her husband’s not really digging all of the attention this picture has brought him. “He really doesn’t like all this attention,” Amy laughs. “He keeps saying, ‘That’s what I am supposed to do! I signed up for that when we chose to have children.'”
Well said, Andre, well said.