This is my last day before vacation (yay!), so I was successfully ignoring those hundred of last-minute-order texts. Turned off my notifications, silenced the ringer… you know the drill. Heading home from my final signing of the day, already planning all the lovely baking projects I can do before Christmas. But the phone screen lit up, and I recognized the number as a long-time loan officer client/friend. So, despite the sinking feeling in my stomach, I took the call.
Yes, a last minute signing. Please, she said, I’m desperate. The notary originally assigned was a no show and isn’t answering his phone at all. Please, these folks are a step away from losing their close on their new house - they have to sign tonight. Please…
Well, I can hold out against one “Please.” I can even stand my ground against two. But three in a single paragraph? This client/friend never plays the “it’s a pathetic situation, please save these poor people” game with me. So, with a sigh and reluctantly turning off my mental oven, I agreed.
It was a neat package, very tidy, from a local credit union. No unusual docs, just a simple straightforward purchase. Rate lock ended at midnight, I noted - and thought that was the reason for the rush. So I called to confirm, and the husband sounded cautiously grateful. I drove the 35 minutes to their apartment building. He met me at the door and asked if I smoked. I glanced around, usual when I enter a new place, and noted the oxygen tanks tucked behind the door. I told him no smoking, but I do have pets. He asked me if I would take off my shoes - no problem - and wear a hospital gown and cap. I agreed, of course.
By now that sinking feeling had hit my feet. I know when I’m going to be signing documents for someone who is very, very sick, possibly terminal. COVID? I had to ask.
No, he said. My wife has Stage 4 ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed a week after we started looking for a house. We could never afford to buy one until I got a promotion last year; she’s always wanted our own home. We made offer after offer, but it took almost 7 months before one was finally accepted. It’s taken two months to get to this point. (By now he was crying.) She wants her own home.
I can’t do much here, I thought, but I can damned well do everything possible to get these documents done right and help this woman get her dream.
The signing took nearly two hours. She was so thin, she barely made a shape beneath the blankets. I double and triple checked everything before I left. Then I drove another 30 miles and put those completed documents directly into the hands of my loan officer/friend. I cried all the way home.
That couple? They are 24 and 25 years old.