BRYAN, TEXAS — Inspired by a story of a caregiver who slept in her car during a flood to ensure the safety and well-being of her client, La'Shay, a caregiver with Comfort Keepers in Bryan-College Station, was prepared to do just the same for her 'baby girl' during last week's winter storm.
Last week Winnie's home was one of the millions in Texas that lost power. However, rather than dreading all the unknowns, she sat comfortably, relaxed in her recliner, knowing La'Shay Bookman would always be near.
Despite the Arctic blast, chilling temperatures, and freezing rain, this caregiver went the extra mile to keep a Bryan woman safe during the arctic blast.
"I didn't even think about it... I knew she was there with me, and I would be okay," Winnie Lanham, Bookman's client shared with 25 News KRHD.
To Winnie, La'Shay is her stability through the good... and bad, and to La'Shay, Winnie is her 'baby girl'.
"Actually, I had told her, I said "Baby girl, we gonna do a sleepover", La'Shay shared while laughing. I said "I am going to stay with you" and she’s like okay. I ended up telling Dee, Winnie's daughter, that I was going to stay with her so she wouldn't be alone," Bookman shared in good spirits.
La'Shay says, when the rolling outages continued, Winnie's daughter Dee Barnes, had encouraged them to take the sleepover to her house. So La'Shay came too, hoping she could keep the same routine she knew Winnie was accustomed to.
"I started packing Saturday for her. The more I watched the news, the more I kept adding to my bag. I prefer to have too much than not enough because she ended up needing some socks, and I am like 'Oh, baby girl, I got some socks for you', so I am glad I over-packed!" Bookman added.
Comfort Keepers say, they hire the 'heart', and the skills can be taught later, but with La'Shay, everything just came real natural.
"For me... I am passionate about my people and it's a no-brainer. When you love what you do, you go above and beyond, and you don't think nothing about it," Bookman added.
Compelled to pay it forward to her elders, La'Shay ensures the well-being of Winnie, just as how many before her did as well.
"That's just my baby girl.. that's my heart... that's like having another grandmother. When you are raised around old people, everyone is honey, sugar, sweetie pie, ladybug... sweetie," Bookman shared wholeheartedly.
Barnes says the care and comfort La'Shay provides, allows her to simply be Winnie's daughter again.
"When I come in now, I am just her daughter. I don't have to come in and do her meds and laundry. I was taking her laundry to my house. I don't have to do any of that. I am just her daughter," Barnes said. "My house.. narrow hallways... it's not really built for walkers and things like that, and La'Shay actually had my mom walking in my house without the walker, but she can guide her. I watched them do a lot of different things differently than they do here, and it was very interesting and very informative for me."
Normally, it's not encouraged to take photos with clients, but this is a moment in their lives the both of them will never forget.
"It's just such a relief, you know, and to know that somebody is in my mother's home and taking care of her as I would take care of her," Barnes added.
"She's important... I know she is there for me," Winnie expressed about Bookman.