With record temperatures causing heatwaves across the United States, a couple in Cleveland, Ohio wants everyone to take a moment and think of their neighbors.
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Johnnie “Cowboy” Mayhew and his wife Monica Malik are urging others to think of their elderly neighbors who generally don’t handle the heat as well as younger people. This couple isn’t asking anyone to do what they themselves would not. In fact, they’ve been checking on their neighbors for more than a decade.
Cowboy and Monica live in Kingsbury Towers Apartments in Northeast Ohio. Thousands of residents call this complex home, and all of them know that at some point, Cowboy and Monica will come knocking on their door to make sure they’re alright!
“I look out for them,” Cowboy explained. “I go to the store for them and I make sure they’re okay. I guess that’s a God-given gift to me.”
Each day, Cowboy and Monica methodically go through their building to visit with elderly or handicapped neighbors who might not be able to get out as easily as others. They make supply runs for them, make sure they’ve got clean water to drink, and ensure their air conditioning is working. These visits also provide much-needed socialization for people who don’t have family or friends to check on them.
If they arrive for a wellness check and find a locked door, Cowboy isn’t afraid to get the authorities involved.
“Make sure your neighbor is alright, if you don’t, something can seriously happen because you would want someone to look after you,” said Cowboy. “When it gets this hot it’s very important because you can die from heat stroke. If the door is locked I’ll bang on the door, and try and wake that person up if they fell asleep. Next thing I do, I’m getting on the phone dialing 911 while I’m banging.”
Monica says she will often call the maintenance or management of the apartment complex if they can’t reach the resident inside. There’s always a way to find out if they’re okay, and she enjoys helping others.
“It’s beautiful to be able to help somebody, and for someone to tell you what they need and to actually put a smile on someone’s face,” she said. “Some people feel like they’re forgotten.”
Since older people have a hard time regulating their body temperatures, they’re more prone to issues like heat stroke. Staying cool and hydrated is important to maintain their health and wellbeing, but sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re overheated when you live alone. That’s where Cowboy and Monica’s visits come in!
“A whole a lot of us in the building are older and sometimes we get out and sometimes we don’t you know,” said 85-year-old Kingsbury Towers resident Dorothy Jones. “I appreciate him and I just love the way he does it.”
No one asked this couple to check on the wellbeing of their neighbors, but they did it anyway! Sometimes we just have to do what’s right without being asked. Thank you to Cowboy and Monica for reminding us to reach out to those around us when the temperature gets too hot… or too cold!
Share this story to spread their selfless act of kindness, and inspire others to do the same!
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