I got an unusual call earlier this week, a chap in Melbourne said he’d Googled computer repair shops in Ballina, NSW, Australia. He’d spoken to Rescue Tech and they’d told him to call me (thanks guys!).

Thankfully I’ve been around all the local computer repair places to tell them about my services.

Basically the chap in Melbourne was wondering if I’d be able to get his aunt on her 93’rd birthday to join him and his Mother over Skype. Usually, the aunt would fly to Melbourne in person every year to spend time with her sister and nephew. However of course at the time of writing we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, all the borders are closed and we’re practising physical distancing.

I accepted the challenge as I love doing things like this. The nephew threw in a few more requests which I ended up doing for free –

  1. I bought a bunch of flowers (from AJ Fusion Flowers in Ballina) as a present from the nephew and her sister,
  2. secondly, I had to design and print a custom birthday card – with photos and comments from the nephew.
  3. I had to check the mobile data speed on location prior to the event and use my own device, internet and personal Skype account since the 93 year lady had no internet, let alone a Skype account or an email address

We had made a test group video chat early on and it all worked well. However, I was still little nervous of any hiccups during the actual event especially about being as safe as possible regarding the virus.

Thankfully the wonderful people at Aquamarine Personal Home Care provided me with a surgical face mask, gloves and hand sanitiser.

I got to the aunt’s address early and got all set up for the Skype meeting. The nephew phoned and confirmed that he was still waiting for the staff in his Mums nursing home to get her online. Meanwhile, I had a great chat with the aunt and eventually the Skype rang and we joined in.

The aunt’s sister in Melbourne sang her Happy Birthday and had a look at the flowers and card over Skype. I was amazed that the Mum in the nursing home in Melbourne was able to name each type of flower in the bunch and could read the card over Skype and describe the photos on it.

They had a great chat and I was on standby to assist. It felt great to have been given the honour to make a positive difference to people lives! I hope these guys will be able to see each other in person next year. 

Meanwhile I’m applying for a government grant to help older people connect socially with technology during the COVID-19 crisis – then I won’t have to charge for work like this! If anyone out there is good at writing grants then please get in touch. Meanwhile stay home, stay safe!