Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Trip

It was dark and cold when I boarded the WheelTrans van. My wheelchair was locked into place and I was strapped into the seat at the back. The driver, a fellow I've had before, wished me a good new years and told me that we had one stop to pick up one person before we'd head up to my office. We chatted for a few seconds and then fell silent.

I actually enjoy these trips, I watch the city slip by in the quiet of the morning. I had much to think about so I occupied my time with thoughts and imaginings. We finally pulled into a driveway and the driver got out. He assisted a very elderly man across to the front passenger seat and then carefully helped him in. Behind him I saw the door open again and a woman came out locking the door behind her.

When the driver saw her he said, "Only one fare was booked." The woman explained that they were going to a medical appointment and that it was important that she go with her husband. She set herself ready to be told that she couldn't go because they hadn't booked the trip properly. Her feet were firmly planted and you could see the argument being formed in her mind.

The driver simply said, "I don't know how to make room."

There was room on the seat next to me but my wheelchair, which is quite long, was strapped down in front of it. He came to the side door to look. When he openned the door, I said, "If you fold the wheelchair footrests back, you can slide the chair in front of me and that will free up this seat."

He nodded and said, "And if I move these straps to the back, then there will be nothing obstructing the path." We set about doing these two things. In a few minutes space was made and she climbed on board. The driver got in and the man sitting beside him, obviously relieved that everything had gone smoothly, turned with tears in his eyes and said thankyou.

The driver smiled and said, "When the heart’s not small, all things are possible."

I thought of that the whole rest of the drive. We dropped the couple off, and again the driver gently helped them get from slippery pavement to clean and dry. Only a few minutes later, I was at my desk jotting down these words: When the heart’s not small, all things are possible.

They were the perfect words to begin my first day in the new year. I hope they influence me for the rest of my life.


Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

I cannot even begin to count the number of times in my life that I have been denied something essential to my equal enjoyment of the same resources and services afforded to everyone else because someone's heart was too small to allow them to see the simple, straight-forward, 60-second solution sitting right in front of them. Or else, their heart was so small that the 60-second solution seemed artifically inflated in comparison, to something they were sure was too "complicated" to implement.

It's good to hear a story of a man who did not let his heart become too small to see the simple little solutions sitting in front of him (or to see them when they're pointed out to him). I just wish there were more people like him. Or that people with disabilities did not have to be so dependent on their existing.

Carleen said...

Such a positive story is just what I needed to start the day on the right note!

The world is full of people whose hearts aren't small, but we tend to focus the majority of our attention on those for whose hearts we need a magnifying glass to locate.

lina said...

words to live by!

Cynthia said...

Such a positive experience after such a negative one last year. What a big difference a big heart can make.

Amy said...

Definitely words to live by - thanks for starting my day off right.

E said...

: )

"When the hearts not small, all things are possible".

True, so very true.

And with an open mind......just imagine.

(Dave, glad you had a much more positive van experience!)

liz said...

What a difference from the other trip!

lisa said...

I don't usually thank someone for making me cry, but thank you Dave for this blog today. And thank you to the driver who was such a "gentle"man.


Tara Marie said...

That is a quote I want to live my whole life by.......thank you.

Belinda said...

I loved the "twin bus stories." What a gift. It is as if all that went wrong the first time was put right in this one.

mmc said...

I love this story!