In July 2015, my wife began to develop dementia. I cared for her for more than four years. It was exhausting, yet rewarding. Love is crazy like that. And I had not had a sincere hug for almost six years.

On Dec. 23, I was at the service desk at AltaOne Federal Credit Union in Albertsons. And I could not find the check I had to deposit. I had already endorsed it. I am 74. In my day, an endorsed check dropped on the ground was the same as dropping cash. I panicked. The teller spotted my check on the floor nearer to the front doors.

A beautiful, young woman bent over and picked up the check and cradled it in her hands, as if it were a precious document. When I approached her, she held it out to me in the same precious manner and with a bright and beautiful smile, "Is this yours?"

I nodded yes and asked her if I could give her a hug.

She wrapped me into her arms, and we shared a wonderful, delightful hug. Warm and embracing. And I possibly lingered a split second too long, a bit beyond what is considered by some acceptable social norms.

I was wearing a mask and did not want her to think I was contagious. So, as I walked away, I turned to her and said, "I am fully vaxxed and boosted," while patting my heart. With an angelic smile, she tapped her heart and returned, "Me too." And we parted.

This thank you is also my apology to all the patient folks who had to wait in line at the AltaOne credit union because of me.

My simple wish is for this young lady to know how important her hug was to me.

Young lady, thank you.

— Gaylord Brubaker