Al Mena Shriners 'clown around' to cheer up nursing home residents

Posted at 3:52 PM, Apr 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-12 06:33:53-04

OLD HICKORY, Tenn. (WTVF) — For weeks, nursing homes across Tennessee have been closed off to visitors because of the Coronavirus. That's why a group of Shriner's stopped by Life Care Center of Old Hickory Village, to brighten a few resident's days by clowning around. "Turn a frown upside down, and that’s what we try to do," the clown Butter Bean told us.

The group, notorious for piling all into one car, had to take multiple for social distancing purposes. It's a sight that quite literally stopped traffic on a busy Old Hickory Boulevard. "We just felt like today would be a good day to really clown it up for some of these elderly people," said Charlie "Hot Rod" Jackson.

Normally, their shows have more of a personal touch, but not in this socially distance world. "We’re all making sure people are staying six feet apart or better and we don’t engage with anybody. No handshaking," said Captain Jim "Snips" Lee.

For many residents, this was their first glimpse at anyone that doesn't work inside the facility. "Kinda gives them all a little bit of inspiration that there is hope ahead of this and we’re not going to be locked up forever," said Hot Rod.

While it was often a one way conversation or serenade through a resident's window, the reactions spoke louder than words ever could. "That’s what it’s about right there. That’s what it’s about," said Butter Bean, right after a resident shot him a smile and laugh.

Because sometimes, it doesn't matter what you say, it's just the fact you care enough to show up. Or in this specific case, clown around. "You know there are doctors and nurses that cure the body, but we’re out here to kinda cure the soul today," said Snips.

If you'd like to reach out to the Al Mena Clowns, go to their website.