The first time I met Lois Page was in 2008 at Roadrunner Food Bank’s previous home on Baylor. I was in a small office next to the glass door that led to the stair case. Anyone who came up those stairs had to walk by me. I was pretty new on the job, so not too many people knew me. One day, I looked up to see a petite elderly woman standing in front of me.
I heard, “I came by to say hello to my friend.”
She then proceeded to the next office where I heard warm greetings and laughter. That was Lois Page through and through.
Over the years, I’d often find Lois searching the hallways looking for her friend. I don’t think she ever had to look that hard. It was impossible not to like Lois.
She was sweet and friendly. She was funny, too. And, obviously, she was a very generous person.
Lois logged 725 volunteer hours at Roadrunner over the past nine years. There are maybe one or two other volunteers who have come close to that at the Food Bank. Our records only go back to 2003 so who knows? She probably had even more hours accrued prior to the time when we started tracking volunteer hours. She also regularly volunteered at the library. And, she was a retired nurse. This was obviously a woman who gave back her share to society.
One time, her car broke down and she had to wait in the lobby for a tow truck. I was impressed at how patiently and peacefully she waited. There was no stress in her voice and no trace of frustration. She was certainly entitled to a minor outburst. I wouldn’t have thought less of her if she had cursed and moaned a little bit. But, no, she just calmly waited in the lobby. The rugged looking tow truck driver doted on her like Lois was his long lost grandma. She had that effect on many would-be tough guys.
When Lois was done with her volunteer shift, she would often advise everyone to “stay sweet.” Good advice for anyone. But, my favorite of her witticisms was a little darker. Lois often joked with me saying, “I haven’t had that much fun since the pigs ate Grandma.”
There were a few times over the years when she was ill or hurt, and we weren’t sure if she’d be back. Then Tuesday morning would come around and she’d walk through the door.
Two weeks before she passed away, Lois came in to the Food Bank, signed in, and handed me her monthly donation. Then, she went to work for an hour and half. That was the last time I saw her before she died.
We all think about getting older. We hope to be healthy, and productive throughout our lives. We hope that we’re still independent and that our lives have meaning.
We hope that when we are 85 years old like Lois was, that we will be the kind of person who has the heart and energy to volunteer and help our community like she did for so many years.
Jason Riggs is a member of the Food Bank staff and the first person that volunteers, donors, and clients meet when entering or calling the Food Bank.