The scene could be a bleak one — a hospital room, a patient near death, and no family or loved ones present during their final moments. But David Wynn and Carolyn Lyon are determined to prevent the lonely from dying alone.

David and Carolyn are volunteers at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, where they sit at the bedside of dying patients. David has been doing these vigils since 2008; Carolyn began in 2011.

When they get a call from the hospital staff that someone is alone and nearing death, David and Carolyn rush to the hospital — even in the middle of the night — to sit by the side of a stranger.

Originally aired November 24, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.