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  • Nancy Spear

“…the number had been disconnected. She thought the worst.”

Several family members hired me as a gift for their 76-year-old mother. She needed lessons (and encouragement) on her iPad, and we’ve been working together weekly for three months. Let’s call her Susan.

Susan is sweet and likes to visit. As I walk in, she asks about my family, we catch up on the past week, and I then gently remind her why I’m there. We start by checking her email. (She’s learned how to Reply, Reply to all, Delete, and to empty the trash.)

One day, before we started working, Susan told me about an old friend of hers back in Johannesburg. They had been friends since they were three and had a long-standing tradition of calling each other every year on their birthdays. Just a few days before, Susan made the birthday call but the number had been disconnected. She thought the worst.

She then mentioned that her friend had a daughter who taught at a French school in Dallas.

Without realizing my intent, I asked if she knew the daughter’s name. She told me, I entered it in Google, added 'french school' and 'Dallas.' Up popped the number for the school. Now we were on an adventure! I got excited, knowing we could solve this mystery. I suggested she call but she was hesitant, cautious, almost nervous. I offered, “Do you want me to call?” She nodded her head.

I reached the receptionist and left Susan’s name and number.

I thought about Susan all week, willing the daughter of her old friend to call. I knew Susan would be waiting and hoping.

The following week, Susan met me at the door with a big smile. The daughter had called. Her mother is in the beginning stage of Alzheimer's and had moved into an assisted-living facility. Not the best news but better than it could have been. The two friends will be talking soon, and Susan looks forward to wishing her friend a belated happy birthday.

This is what I love about my work. It’s not just teaching my students how to text or FaceTime with the grandkids, it’s about helping people connect. This time via Google on an iPad from Los Angeles to Dallas to Johannesburg. And from heart to heart.


Nancy's Tech Help for Older Adults


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