Coffee and Conversation For Half a Century

Odds are, if you've sat down at the coffee shop inside Danbury Hospital anytime in the last 50 years, you've met Rita Thal. The 94-year-old mother and grandmother has been volunteering at the hospital for the last half-century. 
"I guess I'm a people person ... and I like being with people and that's why the coffee shop has always been my favorite volunteer stint," she said.

Thal has worked in many capacities at the hospital. The most recent is at the coffee shop, where the Danbury woman is a pretty popular fixture.

Walk down any hallway with her and people will stop her to say hello, or give her a hug or a kiss.

It was in July 1958 when Thal and her family moved to Danbury. Months later, she walked into this hospital and she's never left.

Since then, her children have grown up and her husband has passed away. Thal says don't ask her her secret to staying young. She has none and she finds it funny when people look up to her.

"They say they want to be like me when they grow up. That's so funny, but so I said, well you're gonna have to grow down because I'm shrinking and I'm shrinking!," she said.

With that, Thal starts to giggle, then she says it's a good thing we're doing the interview today instead of tomorrow, because that's when she is going to drive herself into New York City to hear the New York Philharmonic play.

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