When I first walked into the place I was not sure what to think. It was the Hillsboro pediatrician office that M.D. Monica Salido and her husband, Sid, operated for several years.
It was unlike any doctor’s office I had been in before. It was in an alley, rather small, but clean, and its staff consisted of Monica and Sid. Period. Monica did the doctoring and Sid ran the office.
That first visit to the office was more than three decades ago. While I was taken aback a bit on my first couple trips there, I soon became fond of the place.
You see, the Salidos are special people.
If you know them, you know what I mean. If you don’t, well, you’re not as fortunate as those of us who do.
There are so many adjectives that could be used to describe them – caring, compassionate, humble, funny, hard-working, honest, loyal, generous – but not enough to do them justice. Professionally, maybe the best way I can describe them is to say that stepping into their office was like stepping back into a more simple time, when doctors and their employees knew the families they served in a more personal way. The Salidos were a team, a husband and wife working together to make a living and help as many others as they could along the way.
I did have one problem at Dr. Salido’s office, though. I could never completely understand what she was saying. I listened as intently as I could, but because of her Filipino accent, I could never quite comprehend everything she said. And despite my affirmative nods, I’m pretty sure she knew that I was not getting it all. So she’d patiently explain whatever it was until I finally absorbed it.
Often, when our boys had illness that was a little more serious than normal, she’d call our home and check to see how they were doing. And sometimes she’d call again, until they got better or needed to return to her office.
I’m not sure how our insurance worked back then, nor do I remember what our co-pay was for doctor’s office visits. But I do know that on many occasions, maybe sensing that we didn’t have a lot of money, Sid would just ask for $10 as we left the appointment.
A few weeks ago the Salidos asked my wife and I to attend a Filipino-American Christmas Party they were hosting. That sort of thing is not really my cup of tea, especially on a Saturday evening. So when my wife first mentioned it, I mumbled around, trying to think of something else I had to do. But then I remembered how good the Salidos had been to us, and decided I could handle it for one night.
The event unfolded last weekend and to make a long story shorter, I ended up enjoying myself.
In addition to celebrating the Christmas season with both their Filipino and American friends, the Salidos were also celebrating 50 years of residency in the United States. There was good food and music from both countries, but my favorite part was watching a special group the Salidos brought in to perform traditional Filipino dances. The exuberance they displayed was contagious.
When I greeted the Salidos that night, Sid gave me a warm smile and handshake and called me by first name. I was somewhat surprised that he remembered after all these years and all the patients they served. Then again, I should have known better.
Monica was seated a few steps away. When I went to shake her hand, she opened her arms, pulled me in closer for a hug, then gave me a gentle kiss on top of my head. It gave me a feeling that crossed many years and is hard to describe.
I guess what it did was show me that they still care, more than a decade since they last took care of our family professionally.
I don’t know why or how the Salidos landed in Hillsboro. But I know it is a better place because they did.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.