Timo Haaker, 26, a resident of the Netherlands, was concerned about his grandmother, who lives in the Beth Shalom nursing home in Amsterdam.
Fiet Aussen, 91, has spent six weeks in isolation and since she is nearly deaf, she can’t really communicate with family members through video calls.
Haaker had a unique idea to alleviate his grandmother’s loneliness, a Jewish Telegraph Report (JTA) said. He called Riwal, an international company that sells and rents equipment that uses cranes, such as forklifts and aerial work platforms, to inquire whether he could rent a crane to lift Aussen’s relatives to the window of her third-story apartment.
Riwal, which is owned by Israeli-Dutch businessman Doron Livnat, not only said it was possible but they did it without charge, lifting up 12 of Aussen’s relatives for a “visit” with her for free! They also offered to perform the same operation for any relatives of Beth Shalom residents who are also interested in “visiting” their relatives.
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Haaker told JTA that he wasn’t even aware that Riwal was owned by a Jew when he called the company.
“To be honest, [my grandmother] couldn’t really hear us on the crane, but it made her super happy, it filled her with new energy,” said Haaker. “The sun was shining, there was a great atmosphere and it was just a perfect day.”
“Even without the virus, there’s a chance that each visit will be the last when you’re talking about a person in their 90s,” Haaker said. “And my grandmother has had lung issues in the past. So this concern about not getting to say goodbye was one of the main reasons I decided to put this together.”
Unfortunately, there has been a high death toll at Beth Shalom due to the coronavirus pandemic, with 26 of its 120 residents passing away from the virus. Additional residents tested positive for the virus and are quarantined in their rooms.
There are currently 37,845 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Netherlands and 4,475 fatalities.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)