Submitted image and press release:
There wasn’t a dry eye in the parking lot of the hospital on Tuesday, Jan. 12, as one hardworking United Memorial Medical Center employee received a life-changing gift.
Catherine Weatherbee has worked as a secretary at the hospital for 20 years. She thought she was going out to lunch for her 60th birthday, until she was greeted by six cameras in the hospital parking lot. Next thing she knew a 2016 Subaru Legacy with a big red bow on top was pulling up beside her.
Dr. Nicholas Loffredo, Orthopedic surgeon at United Memorial, got out and yelled “Surprise!” as he walked toward her to hand her the car keys. Weatherbee’s astonished response, “No, you didn’t?!”
Ever since her car broke down two years ago, Weatherbee has been receiving rides to work by a friend or taking a cab. Her caring nature prompted Dr. Loffredo to start a GoFundMe for the United Memorial staff to donate money toward this gift. That goal was reached in mere days.
Excitement grew as the big day approached, but there was a setback. A week before her birthday, Weatherbee got COVID-19.
“We were going to give this to her as soon as she got back and we’re just happy she’s back with us," Dr. Loffredo said. "She’s such a selfless soul and gives to everyone around her, you can’t help but love her."
Weatherbee said “I’m numb. I have no words to describe this. This is my family. I don’t have a family out in the public, but I have a family here."
She may have arrived to work in a taxicab Tuesday morning, but she went home in style.