By Derrick Vander Waal
SIOUX CENTER – This is how it all started . . .
Dr. Del Lassen, the fun-loving and generous medical director and family practice physician at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center, sent out this all-staff email on Thursday, Nov. 11, with “Christmas giving” in the memo line.
|Dr. Del Lassen of Promise Community Health Center|
holds an armful of some of the bags of Tootsie Rolls
he was given by Christmas by fellow staff members
in response to his fun emails begging for gifts.
Dear Promise family,
It is time to begin planning for your holiday giving. I am writing to remind you that gifts to the medical director -- though not required -- are a wonderful thing. Guilt is a terrible thing to deal with and not giving the medical director a gift could potentially cause guilt. Some may describe this memo as selfish and self-serving, but I’m just trying to add to your holiday joy. It will feel GOOD to give. And I’m ready to receive!!! [I will send additional reminders.]
And additional reminders, he did.
Dr. Lassen – no stranger to giving himself as he supplies Promise’s staff with a large box full of assorted Casey’s Bakery donuts every Thursday morning – sent out cleverly crafted emails on weekly basis to staff.
|Promise's Christmas elves, Ruth Hernandez|
and Elizabeth Estefes, prepare "Santa's List"
for posting on Dr. Del Lassen's office door.
The doctor was the only Promise employee
named in the "Naughty" column.
Here’s his contribution a few weeks later on Wednesday, Nov. 30:
You know the tune -- sing along:
SANTA’S ON THE WAY,
DR. LASSEN WANTS YOUR GIFT,
IN THE WORSE POSSIBLE WAAAYAA!!!!
You won’t be able to get it out of your head . . .
Needless to say, the gift-giving to that point had been “underwhelming,” as Dr. Lassen had termed it in one of his emails. But he didn’t give up – resorting to every possible tactic. Even desperation, some might call it.
Here’s his email on Wednesday, Dec. 7:
Dear Promise Family,
I write to express my shame over previous memos. My self-centered, tasteless begging for gifts was beyond belief. I obviously need help.
But --- help doesn’t come cheap these days. Let’s all do what we can to get me what I need!!! Cash donations to fund my therapy can be left anywhere I can find them. No amount is too large or unexpected. I need, I need, I need!!!!
By that time, a plan had been hatched via secret email communication to make “this poor man feel appreciated” and give him what everyone knew he really needs: Tootsie Rolls. (After all, he needs an ample supply to keep that dish on his desk filled to the brim for all of Promise’s medical assistants, nurses and other providers to loot.)
As the emails kept flowing out from Dr. Lassen to staff, the donations to the Tootsie Roll stash started rolling in. The collection of bags of Tootsie rolls and other goodies were hidden in a top-secret place where the needy doctor was sure to never, ever, find it.
At 11:26 a.m. today (Thursday, Dec. 22), Dr. Lassen made one last plea with an email entitled “Christmas!!”
Dear Promise Family,
A Very Merry Christmas to all!! Watch out for the Grinch and those who put out tasteless memos.
P.S. My birthday is in May, and I will be sending out reminders.
Thirty minutes later, Dr. Lassen walked out the door for his noon lunch break. Promise’s Christmas elves scurried into action. They placed a Christmas tree adorned with candy bars, Monopoly money and Christmas cards – with a paper angel as the topper – on his desk. Bags of Tootsie Rolls and other goodies were strewn across his desk and on his chair.
A scroll with “Santa’s List” was pasted to his door with two columns: Dr. Lassen was the lone name on the “Naughty” list on the right side. The names of the rest of Promise’s staff were neatly handwritten in the “Nice” column.
Shortly before 1 p.m., Dr. Lassen walked into his office to his surprise.
|A decorated Christmas tree was|
placed on Dr. Lassen's desk.
“Oh, my goodness,” he said while chuckling. “Oh, my. It hit, didn’t it?”
Before he left for the day, Dr. Lassen had one last email for his co-workers:
Thanks to all for the wonderful Christmas surprise!! Please visit the Tootsie Roll bowl often and violently. The naughty/nice list was clever but highly inaccurate.
Well, maybe the rest of the staff will beg to differ, but . . .
Thank you, Dr. Lassen, for adding a lot of fun to the holiday season! And thank you for your generosity and humor throughout the year!
From all of us at Promise, we wish all of you and your families a Merry Christmas. We hope it’s filled with love, joy and peace. And fun, too!
Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center serving the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org and watch this video. To read more Promise news, visit promisechcnews.blogspot.com.
TO WATCH IT:
Check out the video of Dr. Del Lassen discovering his desk filled with bags of Tootsie Rolls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z_TUGHCarI.
EXPANDING HIS HOURS:
Dr. Del Lassen not only is our fun-loving medical director, but he also knows a lot about family practice medicine. Effective in February, patients will have even more chances to see him for care as he will expand his hours from two days a week to three. Dr. Lassen will continue to see patients on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but he also will add Monday or Friday to his weekly schedule depending on the week. Same-day appointments are available. Everyone is welcome at Promise!