Paramedics make a pit stop to honor a dying man's request for a caramel sundae

Ron McCartney hasn’t had much of an appetite lately.

In fact, when the ambulance arrived last week, his wife Sharon told paramedics he hadn’t eaten in two days.

You might forgive Ron for not being able to stomach much. Those attendants, from the Queensland Ambulance Service in Australia, were there to take him to a palliative care facility. It was the last stop for the 72-year-old cancer patient.

He wasn’t coming back home.

So ambulance attendants Kate Hanafy and Hanna Hoswell asked him a sweet question: If you could eat anything, what would it be?

And they got an even sweeter answer: Why, a caramel sundae would be nice.

As his daughter would later tell the Brisbane Times, “He’ll never say no to a caramel sundae.”

Indeed, since his prostate cancer diagnosis in 2001, Ron has made it a staple of his diet.

But the road to a caramel sundae, especially for an ambulance, wasn’t a smooth one. First, the crew had to get permission from headquarters to make the unscheduled stop.

Then, it turned out the McDonald’s drive-through wasn’t exactly built for a too-tall ambulance, so Hanafy ducked inside for the sundae.

But the wait was worth it when she finally emerged from the restaurant, bearing a caramel sundae.

Ron devoured it right there in the back of the ambulance, all smiles and serviettes — and some tears.

“He had a big smile on his face and his wife was tearing up, just pleased to see him eating,” Hanafy told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Paramedics pose with patient's family Paramedics pose with Ron McCartney’s family. From left to right: Hanna Hoswell, Sharon McCartney, Danielle Smith and Kate Hanafy. (Photo: Queensland Ambulance Service)

The Queensland Ambulance Service shared Ron’s story on its Facebook page earlier this week, where that simple act of compassion quickly vaulted to viral status.

Among the thankful comments left on that post was one from Ron’s daughter, Danielle Smith.

“Dad enjoyed this so much and was the last thing he was able to eat by himself,” she wrote. “Dad sadly passed away Saturday morning.”

Paramedics make a pit stop to honor a dying man’s request for a caramel sundae

On the way to a palliative care facility, cancer patient Ron McCartney had one request: a caramel sundae.


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