Heartwarming hospital dance between 'Goofy' and Victoria open-heart surgery patient caught on camera
ESQUIMALT -- Kimmi is sitting in her kitchen scrolling through pictures and videos from the worst time of her life. "It just scared me," she says. "I had so many tests, so many surgeries."
It was more than a year ago that Kimmi was in the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. There's a video of her walking into the lobby, wearing a hospital gown, preparing to watch one of the employees perform on the public piano. "It’s absolutely beautiful," Kimmi recalls. "Music for me is so healing." While the pianist performed, Kimmi was preparing herself emotionally for open-heart surgery, after being born with a terminal condition.
"I spent a month in the hospital," Kimmi says, fighting back tears. "I thought I was going to die."
But then, Kimmi noticed something unexpected. If you watch the video you can see the moment. She suddenly turns her head to the right before stepping back and covering her face with her hands. "I was just mortified," Kimmi explains. "People had their cameras out."
Everybody in the lobby was focused on what emerged from the left of the video – a life-size Disney character walking towards Kimmi. Somebody was dressed from head to toe as Goofy.
"It was just ridiculous!" Kimmi recalls with a laugh. "It was just, 'Judy! What are you doing here?'"
Kimmi knew who it was, because Judy's worn the Goofy costume before – although it's usually to help raise money for sick kids in her community or animals in need. "Kimmi was so shocked," Judy laughs. "I was happy that put a smile on her face."
Judy says she needed her friend to be in a genuinely good mood for the surgery the next day, because she'd visited the hospital with a costume before, and knew Kimmi was putting on a brave face.
"You know, I'm not really afraid of dying," Kimmi says before crying. "I'm more afraid of leaving my kids and grandbabies, because they're my world."
The video continues with Judy taking Kimmi's hand. Then you see – in the middle of the hospital lobby accompanied by a piano soundtrack – Goofy slowly start dancing with Kimmi.
"I just started crying," Kimmi says. "It was a beautiful thing, actually."
Kimmi calls the experience 'magical' because – during those moments – the strangers watching disappeared, her gnawing fear faded and her deepening despair transformed into overwhelming hope.
Now – a year after recovering from that surgery, Kimmi is feeling grateful that the worst experience of her life, also included one of the best. "I like to think life is really amazing," Kimmi says. "Every day is a gift."
And every day – according to Judy – is an opportunity to be goofy. "If you can help somebody, help." Judy smiles. "It only takes a second and it does a world of difference!"