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All care providers have at least one special patient who touches their hearts. For Novant Health Matthews Medical Center patient transporter Tina Wilds, that patient was Teddy Cooper.

“All of the patient transporters just fell in love with him and his mother – they were like our family,” Tina said of Teddy, a colorectal cancer patient who spent several months at Matthews Medical Center in 2011 and 2012 and passed away in May at age 61. “When you saw the message come across your beeper that you got to take Mr. Cooper to a test, you would get there in a flat second. He was a joy, simply a joy.”

During Teddy’s time at Matthews Medical Center, Tina befriended both him and his mother, Thelma. She would swing by Teddy’s room to wave, say hi or just chat for a few minutes. During these conversations, Tina and Thelma learned they had a lot in common – both love to garden, are native to the Charlotte area and even attended the same elementary school, albeit 35 years apart.

Shortly before he passed, Teddy was admitted to Hospice of Union County.

Tina – who had been in regular contact with his family – made plans to visit him one day after work. She called Thelma that afternoon, May 29, to confirm her visit, and that’s when she learned Teddy had died earlier that morning.

“As we spoke, I asked her, ‘What is the one thing you will miss most about his passing?’” Tina recalled. “And she told me about how, every Sunday, when she went to church, he would tell her how beautiful she looked. I didn't want her to have that void with his being gone. So I called her the Sunday after he passed, and I said, ‘Mrs. Cooper, this is Tina. I just called to tell you that you’re beautiful.’”

And Tina has been calling every Sunday since. She’s also called Thelma on Teddy’s birthday, and even visited Teddy’s grave site with her new friend to pay her respects.

“She said she was going to keep his spirit alive and call me every Sunday – and she has,” Thelma said. “Tina is a standout. She’s a wonderful person and she’s cheered us all up. I love her to death.”