Published: Mar 25, 2014 7:07 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 25, 2014 7:08 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- One man's small sign of gratitude for the staff at Cape Coral Hospital is making a big impact.

He wanted to say thank you to Cape Coral Hospital staff after taking good care of him during a recent stay.

Now, Peter Veilluex stands outside the hospital holding signs that read "Lee Memorial Saves Lives" and "Angels Work Here."

He says, "I was considered a diabetic and I didn't know I was a diabetic, and I was home and for 2 days I thought I had the stomach flu so I was treating myself for the stomach flu which is just the opposite of what I should have been doing and I put myself into diabetic shock."

That's when he was rushed to Lee Memorial Health System's Cape Coral Hospital. "When I got here I was in really bad shape, and they took good care of me. It was unbelievable. Everybody, not a harsh word. I kind of hated to leave!"

So after he got out of the hospital, he hit the streets with his signs. "This is my way of saying thank you. I'm really happy that people say I encourage them because it encourages me more. And it's just card board. But it's the words, the words. People need that. They don't think people appreciate them."

While to the hospital staff they may have been just doing their jobs, to him it means much more. "You can do your job and not be very pleasant. Or you can do your job but you're doing it wonderfully and very nice and with compassion. Everyone wanted to know how I felt, it was a pretty nice feeling. I had never been in the hospital before."

Denise Sawyer, the hospital Chaplain, says she had to do a double take when she saw Veilluex with his sign. "I saw this gentleman with a sign that said Lee Memorial saves lives, it's true. And I thought is that for real? Because if you see someone picketing, it's negative."

She adds, "I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it, this morning when I came in I told him you've been an angel to us because you don't know what this means to us."


She says the small gesture came at just the right time. "During season we get all these folks that come from up north which we appreciate, but a lot of them are really really sick and it takes a toll on you taking care of so many sick folks and we were at a point where many of us were exhausted. And so to drive by and see the sign that says 'angels work here' oh my gosh it just lifts my spirits. It's so encouraging and makes me more excited about my work to see this and makes me more excited about caring for folks to see even one person say thank you in this tremendous way."

It just goes to show a small message can make a big difference. "I want him to know he has really uplifted the spirit of the staff by doing this. He didn't have to do this, he didn't have to say thank you in such a public way," she says.