As we approach Remembrance Day I am still humbled that I happened to stumble upon a stranger that was in a bad situation and I was in a very small way able to help him for the moment.
While waiting for my shuttle ride to the airport returning to Winnipeg on Friday, I was sitting in an open area where I noticed a gentleman in a wheelchair that was severely plagued with Parkinson’s disease. The two of us were starting to get rained on since everyone else had moved to being sheltered under the canopy in front of the hotel. Since it was still mostly sunny I was holding out thinking the rain would not last.
The fellow in the wheelchair was busy trying his best to maneuver himself backwards using only his feet in an effort to move closer to a corner of the court where there might be fewer wind gusts so that he could light a cigarette. With very limited control of his arms and hands, he became very gratified once he got it lit, and paid no mind to the rain that showered us once again while enjoying possibly one of the only pleasures he has left.
As he stood up from his wheelchair to put his lighter in his pants pocket, the wheelchair quickly rolled back away from him. Within a few seconds it was 20 feet away and I was on my way to get it back to him. He seemed thankful but mostly embarrassed by the encounter and repeatedly insisted that he was ok once I convinced him to lock the wheels.
Trying not to be too obvious as I glanced over before leaving for my ride, I watched as he managed to cover his face with his crippled hands. After a good long minute of composing himself he wiped off a couple of tears and proceeded to reward himself with lighting another cigarette.
I think of how most of us (me included) complain about our many everyday problems. Paying bills, having to work, finding a parking spot, doing laundry, cutting the grass, having to wait in line, forgetting a password, a crashed computer, and I can go on forever. This gentleman has the misfortune of having only one….. His Health.
Although Remembrance Day is the day to remember those that have given their lives fighting for our freedom, it is a solemn time that can bring us to be thankful for many of life’s pleasures and gifts including our Health.