84-year-old woman makes promises she just can't break

DOVER, Del. -- Eighty-four-year-old Sigrid Mills loves to bake so much she does it almost every day. Her reward, though, is not in the eating. It's in the giving.

"May I leave you something that I made?" she asks a patient. "Cheesecake?"

Thirty years ago, Mills started visiting patients from her church at what has become Bayhealth Kent General in Dover, Delaware. She had no idea then it would lead to this.

Sigrid Mills
CBS News

Asked how many days a week she comes to the hospital, Mills says, "Every day, every day."

In fact, she hasn't missed a day in more than 10 years.

Why does she go every day?

"Because I have a big mouth," she said. "When I go visit people I say, 'I'll see you tomorrow,' and once I promise something like that, I keep my promise."

Many of those she visits are complete strangers.

"I say to them, 'You don't know me and I don't know you, but we're going to get to know each other.'"

She breaks the ice and warms the room with her favorite hymns. And she often bumps into thankful people like Shirley Mayhew, a recovering cancer patient Mills used to visit.

"She makes a difference, I tell you," says Mayhew. "She's serenity with a capital 'S.'"

At the supermarket recently, a former patient recognized her.

Sigrid Mills visits a patient.
CBS News

"She said, 'You visited me,'" Mills says. "That happens a lot. 'You visited me in the hospital and you brought me an apple.' That was 15 years ago! I mean, my goodness!"

Asked what she gets out of it, she says, "You know, I think the happiest I am is when I can make someone else happy."

"Take care of yourself, OK?" she tells a patient. "I'll see you tomorrow!"

That's a promise that's never been broken.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.