Everyday Heroes

What’s Better Than A Free Vacation? Not Much!

Watch as healthcare heroes get a much-deserved reward for all of their hard work and sacrifice during the coronavirus pandemic.

I don't know about you, but after the threat of the pandemic has passed, and shelter-in-place orders have been lifted, I'm going to need a vacation. After over two months of being cooped up, it would be nice to just get up and go somewhere, anywhere, other than my house.

If I'm feeling this way, I can only imagine how healthcare and other front-line workers must feel after working tirelessly to help others during the crisis. Thankfully, some of those workers are getting the thanks and recognition they deserve - along with some much-needed relief.

American Airlines and Hyatt hotels recently teamed up to surprise front-line workers at Elmhurst Hospital with free vacations. Over 4,000 staff members, from doctors to cafeteria workers, were gifted free airfare and hotel accommodations for a three-day trip to any destination of their choosing in the U.S. or Caribbean.

Elmhurst Hospital is located in Queens, NY, and was considered the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. During the peak of the crisis, the facility treated the most patients of anywhere in the country.

Elmhurst Hospital was considered to be the 'epicenter' of the coronavirus crisis in March. Google Maps

"Every worker at Elmhurst has seen and experienced challenges many of us cannot imagine. They've given so much of themselves and chose to serve their community with care, compassion and equity for every patient," Robert Isom, President of American Airlines, said in a press release. "When they are able to take a break, we hope the time away will help them and their loved ones recharge and that they feel our deepest appreciation for their sacrifice and heroism."

A team of about 30 medical workers thought they were going to their weekly staff meeting last Friday, but when they got to the conference room, they were greeted by a few unfamiliar faces on the screen. It was Isom and Mark Hoplamazian, the president and CEO of Hyatt.

"The entire Elmhurst family demonstrated so much care for so many people, that it's our turn to care for you," Hoplamazian announced. "What could be better than a free vacation?"

The staff members jumped to their feet and cheered when they heard the news, some moved to tears by the kind gesture.

"We got a vacation. A free vacation," Mamie McIndoe, Elmhurst's Associate Director of Patient Experience, told GMA. "It's beyond deeply meaningful to me."

While they might not be able to take that vacation anytime soon, we're sure it's bringing some much-needed relief to the healthcare heroes that have been risking their lives to keep people safe during the crisis.

Kudos to American Airlines and Hyatt for such a generous donation. We hope all front-line workers will be lounging in a deck chair soon, with a tropical drink in hand.

Who knows? Maybe I'll see them there.

Local residents leave messages of gratitude for frontline workers at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY. Elmhurst Hospital/Facebook

How can you start something good?

Inspired by the corporations' incredible act of kindness?

You might not be able to buy vacations for an entire hospital staff, but you can support them by donating your unused airline miles and credit card points.

Members of both Hyatt and American Airline's loyalty programs can contribute miles and points to continue the companies' commitment to helping health care workers all over the world.

Click here to contribute World of Hyatt points. Click here to donate miles via American Airlines.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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